'Mr Bachchan. I simply love all his movies'
Sachin Tendulkar has been a role model for a whole generation of cricketers but when it comes to deriving inspiration for himself, the batting great says he looks up to three Bollywood icons.
Tendulkar said the passion and energy that legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan and melody queens Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle put behind their performance make them really inspiring.
"I get inspired by different sources. A powerful speech may inspire me or flawless tennis in a Grand Slam final. You also get inspired seeing the passion in some of the greats. The Mangeshkar sisters (for instance) -- Lataji and Ashaji," Tendulkar said.
"Recently, I was part of an audience where Asha Bhonsle sang. At the so-called old age of 75, she was amazing! Even at this age she was enjoying herself thoroughly while singing. The energy was unbelievable.
"Then Mr Bachchan. I simply love all his movies. Especially that dialogue from the movie Agneepath where he says Mai Vijay Dinanath Chauhan...," Tendulkar was quoted as saying in Sach, a book by Kolkata-based journalist Gautam Bhattacharya.
Tendulkar, along with actor Mithun Chakraborty, had unveiled the cover in Kolkata in December even though the book, brought out by Deep Prakashan to mark the cricketer's two decades in international cricket, was released on Sunday.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar with Amitabh Bachchan
'I am also a great admirer of A R Rahman'
Tendulkar is in awe of the Bollywood trio and wondered how they manage to retain their passion after so many years in the industry.
"Mr Bachchan, Lataji, Ashaji -- maybe because they are all from Mumbai that I get to meet them more often. But to me, they are all living inspirations. These are the people who enjoy every moment in their creative lives. They don't want short-cuts. I simply love this attitude," Tendulkar gushed.
"I am also a great admirer of A R Rahman. I felt very proud when he had won the Oscars. We were playing in New Zealand then. From there I had sent him a text," he added.
Tendulkar is assured of cricketing immortality with his mind-boggling collection of more than 30,000 international runs and critics put him in the same league with Don Bradman and Viv Richards.
There, however, is a school of thought which believes using helmet diminishes Tendulkar's aura to some extent but the cricketer himself feels even Bradman would have used it had it been available then.
"I think it is only sensible to use protective gear if you have them in circulation. Twenty years from now there will be some protective gear which I cannot think of today.
"The fact of the matter is that in the past such protective equipments didn't exist. You can only use what you have today, isn't it?" he asked.
Image: Bollywood singer Lata Mangeshkar presentsSachin Tendulkar with a golden bat during a felicitation ceremony in Mumbai
Tendulkar's legendary focus has stood him in good stead
Apart from his skill, Tendulkar's legendary focus has stood him in good stead and more than once, he put behind personal tragedies -- like deaths of his father, close friend Mark Mascarenhas and patron Raj Singh Dungarpur -- and performed upto expectations.
Asked how could he manage that, Tendulkar said, "I cannot answer this, honestly. It is very hard to explain. Something happens inside the ground. Body and the mind takes charge somehow.
"It is very tough and you have to possibly experience it to understand. You have to be very tough and brave to handle such situations," he said.
"When my father died [during the 1999 World Cup in England] and I returned home, my family members, including my mother, asked me to go back and play for the country. They said, father would have loved that," added Tendulkar.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar
'Lara is one of my favourite all-time players'
Of his contemporaries, Tendulkar spoke highly of Brian Lara.
"I wasn't following Lara's career minutely in that sense to get inspired...But I would certainly watch Brian on TV. He is one of my favourite all-time players.
"Contrary to what people thought there was no rivalry between us. On the contrary we clicked right from the word go," he said.
"We first met in Canada in 1990. We were playing for the Rest of the World against Imran Khan's Pakistan...I remember having a 150-160 run partnership with Brian. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience of batting with him. Watching him from the non striker's end was great," Tendulkar added.
Image: Brian Lara (left) with Sachin Tendulkar