Focus, agility, grit and ability to take quick decision in the face of challenges are the traits of a perfect sportsperson.
The same holds true for Lucknow lad and international badminton player, Eshan Naqvi, who maneuvered his way to the world of music and finally to the tinsel town after a nagging injury forced him out of the sports arena.
Eshan, 29, is set to make his Bollywood debut opposite Parineeti Chopra in ‘Saina’, a biopic based on the life of ace shuttler Saina Nehwal, in which he plays the role of Parupalli Kashyap, a former badminton champion and Saina’s husband.
The film will hit the screens on March 26.
Eshan’s song garnered 3m views on YouTube
Born in Lucknow, Eshan comes from a family of sportspersons. His father, Ashher Naqvi, is a football and hockey veteran who has served as district sports officer (DSO) in Pilibhit and Lucknow and retired as regional sports officer, Gorakhpur.
His elder sister, Parssa Naqvi, is also an international badminton player. “I was drawn to badminton since my childhood. In Pilibhit, where my father was posted as DSO, we had a badminton court next to our house where my elder sister used to play. I got inspired by her and started trying my hands at the game when I was around 8-9 years. Later, we moved to Lucknow and I played badminton at KD Singh Babu Stadium for 3-4 years,” he says.
“I won state Under-13 championship, singles as well as doubles. Then I joined Thane Bandminton Academy where I trained under my coach Shrikant Vad. I came in contact with international players there who helped me grow. I won Under-16 and Under-19 state championships and became youngest Maharashtra state champion at16,” Eshan adds. Internationally, he has played Junior World Badminton Championship in Malaysia (2009) and Junior Asian Badminton Championship (2009). At senior level, he has represented India in India Open Grand Prix Gold Championship(2010) and Australian Gold Prix (2010). However, a serious back injury forced him to hang his boots, but the setback made him stronger.
“I was a performer since my childhood. I loved music, acting and mimicry. While I was taking rest and recovering from injury, I started pursuing music seriously,” says Eshan, whose song ‘Kajra mohabbat wala’ has garnered 3 million views on YouTube.
So, how did Bollywood happen?
“I met ‘Saina’ director Amol Gupte through my coach Shrikant Vad. I initially joined the project as a sports instructor to Parineeti and to help the team understand the intricacies of badminton. Later, I was selected for the role of P Kashyap after a few auditions and workshops,” he says. “There is no difference between sports and acting. I put my heart into whatever I do. Currently, I am focusing on acting and music,” he adds.