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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 July 2005, 08:23 GMT 09:23 UK
Hitting the stage
By Arjun Sandhu

Sachin Tendulkar
When you achieve perfection in any craft you become 'Sachin Tendulkar'
Sabyasachi Deb Burman
Sachin Tendulkar is without a doubt India's number one sportsman.

A Test cricketer since the age of 16, he is adored by millions of fans and the beneficiary of numerous lucrative endorsement contracts.

He is also the subject of a new stage musical.

Written and directed by Mumbai-based Sabyasachi Deb Burman, it was performed for the first time last month.

Main Sachin Tendulkar - which means Me Sachin Tendulkar - was written, according to its creator, because he personifies a level of excellence to which everyone should aspire.

"We need Tendulkars is every sphere of life, not just in cricket," said Deb Burman.

"Cricket is the single great unifier in our society. Cricket is far more than a sport, it's a national obsession and this musical seeks to showcase my theme of 'Tendulkar the achiever'."

The musical features a cricket-obsessed schoolboy, named Sachin Karmarkar, who idolises India's brilliant batting star.

The young Karmarkar is a star among boys playing street cricket, where his fellow players have nicknamed him Tendulkar.

Actor Riyaz Ahmed
Sachin Karmarkar is the show's central figure

His obsession with cricket contrasts with his general aimlessness in life.

But, according to the story, Karmarkar eventually realises his folly and that a perfect man - a 'Sachin Tendulkar' - is hidden in everybody, although he has to settle for a job in a glass factory.

The two-hour musical does not have a regular venue - Deb Burman says he's not desperate to have one - but has been performed four times in different theatres around Mumbai.

Around 1,000 people were in the audience on opening night.

"I'm eager to take the musical all over India. We need Tendulkars in other sports as well as different faculties like medicine, engineering and industry," he said.

"When a person wants to achieve the highest level of performance personified by this perfect batsman, you are trying to become a Tendulkar," he said.

"And when you attain that perfection in any craft, you indeed become 'Sachin Tendulkar'.

Deb Burman admires the way Tendulkar conducts himself on and off the field.

Sachin Karmarkar proposes to girlfriend Radha
As with most musicals, there is room for true love

"I've never had the opportunity to meet Sachin, but am hopeful he'll soon come to witness the musical," he said.

"I assume he's heard about it as we've talked to several cricketers."

Deb Burman used to teach drama in Mumbai, Tendulkar's birthplace, and has also directed films.

He now runs a performance academy and the 30-strong cast, led by actor Riyaz Ahmed, was picked from workshops conducted by him and the show features six song sequences and 180 different costumes.

After 34 Test centuries and a world record 13,642 runs in one-day internationals, Tendulkar's place in sporting history is assured.

But the musical shows his fame stretches well beyond the confines of Eden Gardens or the Nehru Stadium.

What next? A Bollywood biopic perhaps.




SEE ALSO
Chappell backs Tendulkar revival
22 May 05 |  Cricket
Tendulkar's Test career in pictures
18 Mar 05 |  Photo Galleries
Tendulkar joins elite group
16 Mar 05 |  Cricket
Tendulkar on his F1 excitement
31 May 04 |  Fun and Games
Tendulkar in demand
21 May 02 |  West Indies v India


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