Jisshu steps out

Had he known about the DKS Premier Cricket League 2015, in association with t2, earlier, he would have played or might have even bought a team!   

  • Published 26.04.15

Had he known about the DKS Premier Cricket League 2015, in association with t2, earlier, he would have played or might have even bought a team! 

Jisshu Sengupta at DKS. Picture: Arnab Mondal

Jisshu Sengupta chatted with t2 about why he’ll always be a cricketer first, after inaugurating the IPL-format tourney on April 18 at the Deshapriya Park club.   

Had you not been an actor, would you have been a cricketer?
Any day. Even now. I am a cricketer first, then an actor. I played for Bengal U-19. I became an actor by default. My mom used to say one actor (his dad Ujjwal Sengupta) in the family is enough! I have also played drums professionally for 10-11 years.

You could have gone back to cricket after Mahaprabhu (the popular serial)...
There were a lot of reasons I couldn’t go back. Money was important for us at that time. Where I am today is because of acting obviously, but I miss cricket.

Was it a heartbreaking choice?
At that time it was. I signed up with a club called Ballygunge United, a first-division side. I couldn’t play for them that year. In fact, they had signed me on because I had scored a couple of 100s against them in the CAB first-division league. Today, if I get a half-per cent opportunity to play cricket, I will take a chance and go for it. My wife (Nilanjanaa) knows that.

If you could live your life all over again...
I’d be a cricketer, 200 per cent! If God comes to me and says, ‘Jisshu, the lifestyle you lead right now... that will be maintained. I give you a chance to go back in time... maybe five years... and you can start playing cricket’, I will go. I will leave everything and go.

What were your cricketing dreams?
I was an all-rounder. I started my cricket from school (Julien Day School) when I was in Class IX. I knew I would play for Bengal. Ranji Trophy was my next goal, followed by East Zone. And, of course, if you are playing serious cricket, you would want to play for India one day. But then it all vanished. 

I play in CCL (Celebrity Cricket League) for Bengal Tigers, where I am the captain. I try to give my 100 per cent. Ours is a small industry. Even Bhojpuri is a bigger industry than ours. We are still trying to cope.

When you watch a cricket match on TV, do you still feel ‘I could have been there’?
When I was playing cricket, there was no IPL. It is huge right now. If IPL was happening then, yes, I wouldn’t have probably left cricket and got into acting.

Who were your heroes?
Mohammad Azharuddin. I used to love his fielding and the way he used his wrists. I also liked Ajay Jadeja. Then it shifted to Sachin Tendulkar. I was at that World Cup semi-final clash between Sri Lanka and India at the Eden Gardens in 1996. Eden was burning.... Indians are emotional about cricket, but ask any cricketer, when you cross that rope, it’s something else. Everybody wants to give it their best. Yes, you do feel bad if India loses, but the kind of thing that happened to Virat Kohli (when Anushka Sharma was blamed for India’s World Cup defeat)... obnoxious. I like his attitude on the ground. You need to send a message across that I am here to win.  

How much cricket do you watch now?
Loads. I am a hard core fan of India and Kolkata Knight Riders. My city is playing and they should win! Some people don’t like T20, but things change with time. Now, you see the ball, you hit the ball. Players are coming up with new kinds of shots every day. I am an ODI person. The 2011 World Cup final is one of my favourites, where M.S. Dhoni played that fantastic knock.

Does your family share your passion for cricket?
No they don’t (laughs)... but whenever I am playing in CCL, Nilanjanaa records all the matches if she is not at the ground.

So, your dream role would be playing a cricketer on screen?
I played a cricketer in Haranath Chakraborty’s Swapno years back. Bumbada (Prosenjit) was my big brother and I played for India... kind of a wish fulfilment! I would love to do a Lagaan or an Iqbal.  

Saionee Chakraborty
What do you want to tell Jisshu after reading this? Tell t2@abp.in