When asked “how should one become an actor”, M. Night Shyamalan says that if you have an option, any option, don’t do it.
He says one should become an actor or a filmmaker only if they can’t not do it because things like these take years of hard work, rejection, and ridicule in most cases and one should only go ahead if, in the end, it all seems worth it, even if they don’t land a huge part in a big movie or have tons of money.
And what about those who get lucky and have things easily work out for them? Well, ideally they should be willing to give up on the rewards if needed – or they should stop saying that their work is their biggest passion. Because it is not. No judgment, that’s just a fact.
I needed to go back to that interview because it’s the best way to describe Pravin Tambe’s drive, which is also his biggest asset. The cricketer is all set to have his life portrayed with the biopic, Kaun Pravin Tambe, and looking at the life Pravin has lived, the movie is going to be a good one.
Pravin Tambe shot to fame in 2013 when he was selected by Rajasthan Royals management for IPL and Champions League T20. What made him special was the fact that he was 41 at the time.
Naturally, people could not believe it. To the point that coach Rahul Dravid was questioned about it relentlessly by the higher-ups. Dravid was convinced though that he wanted Pravin in the squad even though the cricketer had never represented the country or even his state.
In fact, that was precisely the reason why he was selected (apart from his bowling skills, obviously). You see, Pravin started out in 1993-1994, and for 20 years, he got up and did what he loved the most.
It didn’t matter to him that he was not getting call-ups, it didn’t matter to him that there was no money in the smaller leagues. He just wanted to play cricket. In an interview given to The Times of India in 2013, he said:
I never weighed cricket and money together and will never do that. Cricket is a passion and money is a requirement to take care of my family. I always understood that I had to follow my passion but not at the cost of my family. That’s why I picked jobs where I can play cricket. There were times when my salary was only ₹2500.
This unflinching dedication almost seems unreal, but it exists in Pravin. When asked about his career, he said:
I began my career playing in the H-division of the Times Shield for Orient Shipping in 1994-95. By the time I ended there in 2004 we were playing in the A-division. I also played for the Parsee Gymkhana and the Shivaji Park Gymkhana before moving to DY Patil with the help of Abey Kuruvilla.
This was all before his IPL stint, which was his big break that he did not take for granted. During a conference, Rahul Dravid shared how Pravin would always be the first person to come to the nets and the last to leave. He’d talk to the senior players, whoever he could find, and ask for their suggestions to improve his game.
And ultimately, it all paid off. He had a fantastic run at Champions League 2013 and was awarded the Golden Wicket award for taking the most number of wickets in the tournament.
He played for the Rajasthan Royals from 2013 to 2015 and subsequently joined Gujarat Lions and Sunrisers Hyderabad. In the year 2020, he played in the Caribbean Premier League, becoming the first Indian to do so.
Pravin Tambe becomes the first Indian to play in a CPL game. He’s making his debut for the Trinbago Knight Riders.— Sarang Bhalerao (@bhaleraosarang) August 26, 2020
Tambe has a rare two-ball hat-trick in the IPL for RR v KKR in 2014 (got one wicket off a wide ball)#CPL20
Pravin spent 2 decades of his life without recognition and he must have received tremendous rejection before hearing a yes. But he kept going, and there is a lesson in it for all of us.
He did not play cricket because he could, he played it because couldn’t not. There is a difference between the two.