Q. Was it a shock to you when the IPL
was relocated to South Africa?
A. The option was to either
have it outside India or not at all. No one is happy to shift
from home ground. That thrill of playing across our own country
at domestic tournaments is gone. Going to various cities with
the matches is a high. However, people can still watch it on TV.
That's still there.
But an Indian event shifted to South Africa?
A. I know. But we've to be optimistic.
Last year when the IPL started everyone thought it would flop.
It became the biggest hit ever. Likewise the shift to South Africa
could make the IPL bigger. What else can I do except be hopeful?
Q. But it's being translocated to a new
culture and environment?
A. Of course, it is! But what
can we do? I've always believed whatever happens in life happens
for the best. The timing of the IPL crisis was unfortunate. My
most challenging film, 'Heaven On Earth', is on release. I'd have
liked more time nurturing it. You know I did 'Heaven On Earth'
for myself. Lots of times I've done things for this reason and
that. But this time it was entirely for me. I just needed to connect
more with my inner self. This film made me do that.
Q. Tell me about your preparation for
A. I've worked quite a lot with
battered women. I've studied so many kinds of mental disorders.
Domestic violence comes much after other forms of disorder. Every
scene in 'Heaven On Earth' rings true. I had a hundred notions
on how to play the role. But when I met abused women I decided
it has to be very real. I'm very proud of it. Let's see how audiences
in India react.
Q. So the IPL moving out of India is
like uprooting a national event?
A. Exactly. It's like asking
an actor to perform in a theatre where nobody knows him. But we'll
make sure that the quality and profile of the game don't change.
Only two percent of the audience watches the game in a stadium.
Most of them watch the game on television.
But there's that vibe when the game happens on
home ground. That spirit can't be captured anywhere. Having said
that I don't want to sound whiny and petty. I want to thank South
Africa for agreeing to host the IPL games. They've gone out of
their way to accommodate us, flung their fields open to us. I
think South Africa will make a beautiful home for the games.
Q. Wasn't the choice between South Africa
A. Yes, there were several options.
But it finally came down to choosing between those two countries.
We didn't want to go into a place where there was too much rain.
I think South Africa will be fun. Who knows, they might even allow
me to play. That's my secret fantasy. Miracles do happen, you
Q. Is it just elections that ousted IPL
from India. Or was there a security scare after what happened
to the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan?
A. I refuse to believe India
is scared about the security. Does the country shut down because
we can't get enough security? I think we need to vote even more
carefully. We must put proper people in places of power. I don't
think we should vote for anyone who has got criminal records.
See their track records and then vote.
Q. How will you be ready with the IPL
in South Africa in time?
A. We Indians don't only exist
in chaos. We thrive in it. Even last year when IPL happened for
the first time we grappled with all odds. I know I'm going to
have sleepless nights. But that's a different story. I can't pretend
I'm not disappointed by the relocation. But South Africa is a
I'll have lots to do besides cricket. In Punjab
it was difficult for me to move out. Preity Zinta will have a
blast shopping in South Africa. Preity Zinta, the team owner,
is worried. We've no players from South Africa. Neither does Shah
Q. Are the boys demoralized by the relocation?
A. Their choice was between
no IPL and IPL in South Africa.