Movies were never my passion: Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s son Agni Dev on stellar debut First Class season | – Times of India



NEW DELHI: In the current Ranji season, a rising star has emerged and he happens to be the 25-year-old Agni Dev Chopra, the son of acclaimed filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra.
Unlike his father, who enjoys the luxury of retakes in his illustrious film career, Agni Dev, a privileged kid passionate about cricket, faces the scrutiny of the world.
However, his focus has been on making a statement on the cricket pitch.His impressive record, including five first-class centuries for Mizoram in the Ranji Trophy, clearly indicates that he is not just a decent cricketer but has the potential to get better.
Even though the runs came in Plate Group, comprising mainly northeastern states, a tally of 767 runs from four games, with scores like 166 and 92, 164, 114, 105 and 101, is as good as it gets.
Agni Dev could have taken the more glamorous route and enter Tinsel Town, but he did not.
“So I have been asked this question from childhood that will you go into movies but I never thought I would ever be in movies. I never thought that, oh, I should get in because my dad makes movies and it will be an easy avenue for me.
“I was never interested in movies. I mean I love watching movies and have a great time but it was never my passion,” the eloquent Agni Dev told PTI during a conversation.
So what was the advice he got from the man who made classics such as Parinda, 1942-A Love Story, Three Idiots (as producer) and the latest blockbuster, 12th Fail.
“My dad told me and my sister when we were younger what his father told him: “Agar tumhe sadaak par mochi (cobbler) banna hai, apne sadaak ka best mochi banna. (If you become a cobbler, be the best in your lane).
“He gave us freedom to do what we wanted but told us to try to be the absolute best. Talent can only take you that far as rest depends on work you do and I saw that in his movies and amount of work he put and my mother (noted film critic Anupama Chopra) in her profession, and that rubbed off on me.”
He played for Mumbai U-19 and U-23 but admitted that he had a poor last season in Mumbai age-group and was told by his coach Khuspreet Singh that it is better he plays for a team where he would “get playing time” to showcase his skills rather than wait for the Lion’s Crest (Mumbai logo) on his cap.
He went to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) where Mizoram senior team’s trials were happening.
“Coming here in Mizoram, everyone has been very welcoming and really included me and there are two more pros — KC bhai (KC Cariappa) and Mohit Jangra. They are inclusive and welcoming and I never felt like an outsider. I have been taught a few Mizo words and phrases and I dont feel in a vastly different place.”
The standard of bowling in Plate Group is certainly quite a few notches below the Elite, but then, Agni Dev has a counter.
“People will say what they have to say but, at the end of the day, it’s your performance and there are lot many players who are playing in the same division and not scoring that many runs. Standard is same for everyone.”
Right now, his primary aim is to take Mizoram to final of Plate Group, which will ensure automatic entry into Elite next year.
“I think I am trying to be in present and my aim is to take Mizoram to Elite division. If we are in Elite division, then there is nothing to think about in terms of quality of bowling and I will play for Mizoram,” he said.
He had a decent SMAT T20 with a strike-rate of 150 plus but that didn’t fetch him an IPL bid.
“May be I am not good enough so I wasn’t picked,” he said, doing plain-speaking pretty well for his age.
Did it ever occur to you that multiple IPL teams are being run by film industry people (KKR is co-owned by Shah Rukh Khan and Punjab Kings by Preity Zinta)?
“For me, I want to be picked for anything based on my pedigree, it shouldn’t be because of anything else. I don’t think my dad would ever pick up the phone and tell anyone just because I told him to. I have to be good enough so that they are calling my dad, rather than my dad calling them.
“If something like that (his father pulling ranks) happened, may be I will be picked in squad, but surely, would not get to play in the eleven. I don’t want to be in a team where I am picked because of a phone call and then I am not going to play.”
He signed off on a confident note.
“It doesn’t help to use a connection to achieve a dream that you wanted to achieve. Cricket was never my dad’s dream. It was my dream.”
(With inputs from PTI)



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