Updated: October 1, 2021 11:01:22 am
Indian tennis legends Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have set out to unravel their story of grit and determination that set them on the path of becoming perhaps India’s most celebrated tennis champs. The upcoming web series Break Point on ZEE5 traces their journey of humongous success. But more than that, it also reveals what made them break-up, a question to which India is yet to get a clear answer.
Break Point has been directed by filmmaker couple Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari. The seven-part web series is a telling narrative of Leander and Mahesh’s on-court partnership and their off-court lives. It throws light on their bitter breakup and how they couldn’t hold on to their meteoric rise and life after success.
During an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, the iconic pair spoke about the show’s tag line “bromance to break up” and their unique love story. “We’ve had a very long and incredible journey full of ups and downs, which we are very proud of. We got to relive it in last 18 months while we made Break Point,” Mahesh started.
Leander added that the show not just allowed them to delve back into how champions are made, but also show a very emotional side to it. “I think for both Mahesh and myself, it’s been a great healing journey where we have been able to bring up conversations that have not been spoken about in 20 years. We’re able to laugh at it now, we’re able to come full circle in our brotherhood,” Leander added.
The trailer of Break Point released recently and reminded an entire generation of how ‘Lee-Hesh’ as the two are fondly called, brought laurels to India, until they shocked the nation with their fall out. For both Leander and Mahesh, it was the conviction and brilliance of Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari that convinced them to lay bare their lives. According to them, the directors have captured their human side and downfalls. “We are humans as well, we also have flaws,” Leander said.
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“To be honest, we’ve been getting offers for 20 years. And we didn’t feel comfortable and safe with the right directorial team. The first time Nitesh and Ashwiny came to my office and we had these conversations, and then the way they’ve told this story in a beautiful way… I always knew they will protect us because they are unbiased whether it comes to Mahesh or my perspective. At the same time they know we have brands that we look after. That’s the main reason I feel they’re the perfect people to tell this story in the best fashion,” Leander Paes added.
Both Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari have made films with sports as the core theme. While Ashwiny’s Panga starring Kangana Ranaut was one of the major hits of 2020, Nitesh has directed Aamir Khan’s Dangal and Sushant Singh Rajput’s Chhichhore. Panga’s plot revolved around kabaddi, Dangal had wrestling and Chhichhore depicted a college gang that comes of age around a sports tournament. Chhichhore also won a National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.
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“Regardless of anything that comes to us on our plates as a team, there’s always someone within our ecosystem that goes up and says, ‘Are you sure you want to do it? Are you going to be protected? Are you going to look worse than him or better than him?’ But when we spoke to Nitish and Ashwiny for the first time, we had that comfort,” Mahesh Bhupathi claimed.
Break Point is a term in tennis that means a condition where a player is one point away from a win, and their opponent is serving. The player needs to “break” their opponent’s serve.
Post baring it all for the series, have the two tennis stars been able to “break point” and arrive at a resolution in their personal relationship? “We’ve built that bond over the last two decades where we understand the ups and downs, we lived with it, got past it and stayed together. It’s something that we have shown along the way as well,” Mahesh shared.
On a candid note, Leander assured that their friendship is too deep and has stood the test of time. “Our brotherhood withstood winning Grand Slams. It withstood having difference of opinions. So, that friendship is solid. For us to come together in a series like this shows that we put ourselves together to inspire a whole generation,” he concluded.
Break Point will premiere on ZEE5 on October 1.
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