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- I would have died for Akshay, says Sania

Hyderabad, Nov. 19: For once, the questions were not about premarital sex or Indian culture but about how “cute” John Abraham is. In an auditorium packed with screaming schoolchildren, Sania Mirza today got the chance to remind an over-serious nation that she is still just a teen.

“I love Akshay Kumar,” she declared, “and would have died for him”. The audience at the international children’s film festival 'barely younger than the star guest ' let out a huge cheer.

For once, questioner, interviewee and audience seemed on the same wavelength.

What did she think of John Abraham, some anxious fans of the Bollywood hunk wanted to know. Sania screamed into the crowd: “Is there anyone here who does not like John Abraham' He is so cute and chubby.”

The pale green salwar-kameez was the lone reminder that this was no ordinary, carefree 19-year-old but one at the receiving end of fatwas against her short skirts.

But it cast no shadow on the 25-minute Q&A session, which went like a breeze.

Favourite colours' Black and red. Favourite bird' Peacock. Favourite city' Jaipur. It was all serious talk.

“When I went to learn tennis at the age of six-and-a-half,” Sania suddenly leant forward, letting the gathering in on a secret, “one of the coaches told me that I was shorter than the tennis racquet.”

She seemed in a good mood, so a young questioner took his chance. Her email ID' Nope, disappointment this time. “Great question,” Sania returned the serve.

Best friends' Sada and Richa (both actresses). Want to visit Kashmir' Of course, anytime. Pet name' Sorry, wrong question.

Know Telugu' This was a surprise: “Only a little as I studied Urdu medium.”

There were the standard queries (inspiration: parents and Steffi Graf; favourite player: Roger Federer; great moment: playing Wimbledon) and her replies were quick, flowing with practised ease.

Too quick, perhaps. Favourite actress' Madhuri Dixit (without thinking)' er, well, also Nafisa Ali (she was sitting beside her).

Would she like to emulate them' Nope, not interested in acting, only in playing tennis.

So, surely, her favourite wish has a capital W' Naah' no big dreams, “whatever God gave, that is good”.

Typical Indian lack of ambition' What about carrying the “burden of a nation’s expectations”'

But before the armchair tennis fans can get all worked up, here was another.

Target in life' “Nothing in particular. Only enjoy life.”

There’s no skirting the issue, Sania Mirza is a teenager.

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