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Move over, Vijay Amritraj. There's a new tennis player-turned-actor in town. According to reports, Leander Paes, the 37-year-old doubles specialist from Calcutta, India, is set to star opposite actress Ameesha Patel in a film by Ashok Kohli called Rajdhani Express. The filmmakers are being hush-hush about the movie's plot, just saying that Paes will be playing "a common man in a face-paced [sic] plot." Personally, I can see him fitting into a romantic lead role. Just check out how he interacts with Serena Williams when he interviewed her for NDTV last year. Charisma and chemistry! I also can see Paes doing his own action stunts. He's never been afraid to dive for shots on court.
According to an IndianExpress.com article, Paes is taking his big-screen debut seriously: He's enrolled in a three-month acting program to prepare. Of course, Armitraj can help his young prodigy (Paes developed his game at Amritraj's academy in Madras) with his acting. Who can forget Amritraj's turn as James Bond's sidekick in Octopussy?
Speaking of Armitraj, his foundation is holding two big charity events this weekend in Calabasas, Calif., one honoring Jimmy Connors on Oct. 29, and a Beach Boys concert on Oct. 30. For information on tickets and details, go to vijayamritrajfoundation.org.