Exclusive: "I’m proud that I could run this 400-metre race for my country," shares Angad Bedi

by | March 2, 2024, 10:59 IST

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Exclusive: I’m proud that I could run this 400-metre race for my country, shares Angad Bedi

Angad Bedi is the son of Bishan Singh Bedi, one of our finest 
cricketers. The late spin wizard passed away in October last year. Angad, who once used to play cricket for the Delhi under-19 team, before turning a model and then actor, went back to sports and recently won a medal at the Open International Masters 2023 Athletics Championship in Dubai. He says going back to being an athlete was a tribute to his father. The actor, who himself is a father to two kids, takes some time off his busy schedule to answer some questions about coping with loss, having multiple interests and his growth as an actor and as a person. Excerpts:

Angad Bedi

You recently won the gold at the Open International Masters 2023 Athletics Championship in Dubai. What was that experience like?

Yes, it was wonderful. It’s a great feeling to represent your country. It’s a great feeling to do something different. I’ve always believed that you should have a personality outside your profession and I feel that in my very being, in my bones and in my blood, there is sportsmanship drilled in me through my childhood days. I’m proud of the fact that I could run this 400-metre race for my country. This has been my tribute to my father. He always wanted to see me run fast. I wanted him to see this race. I wanted him to take him to Dubai. But I feel God had other plans, so he was not physically there. But I could feel his energy from the beginning right to the end while I was running on that track.

What are some of the special memories and lessons that you’ve learned from your father that continue to guide you in your personal and professional life today?

I always believe in one thing that he said: that you put your heart and soul into whatever you do. He said that we meet many people throughout the course of our lives and the only way to know if they connect with you is if you are a good human. He used to say, “Accha insaan banna sikho, films toh kitne bhi kar loge, sports kitna bhi khel loge lekin acha insan banna bahut zaruri hai.” Everyone wants good people in their lives, and if you find good people, always treasure them and keep them close to you.

Angad Bedi

So how do you find strength and support during this time of grieving?

My father was a spiritual person. I had a lot of faith and belief in my father. He always had my back. There’s a void that has been left that will never be filled. But I know he’s with me, guiding me. When I was participating and running for India in the Dubai meet, my body was not willing. My heart was not there and my body had completely shut down, but I gained some spiritual strength from somewhere. There was divine intervention and our coach pushed and motivated me. He said only the brave show up on the track and it was never about the medal. He said you’re doing this for a higher purpose. Do it well. And I’ve heard dad always say his words would always ring in my ears and he would say, “Get stuck into it.” That’s how it all happened. And there was magic, and that was the first time ever that I’ve experienced it. He always wanted me to live the life of a sportsman. He was proud of the body of work in cinema that I’ve done and achieved. But he said that you have a lot more to give; you have a lot more in you. So then I just felt that this was my best way of expressing myself. And he would have always enjoyed it. And that’s how this has been my tribute to my dad.

Angad Bedi

How do you think this experience has changed your outlook on fatherhood?

Whatever my teaching and learning have been, I would like my children to imbibe it. I  feel that you have to push yourself to a limit and don’t worry about the results as long as you sleep well at night and know that you’ve given more than your 100 per cent. I think that is what is important. Sport teaches you that and life teaches you that. And I’ve seen that it’s never about the medals, the trophies, or the money that you make. It was always about the journey that you experienced. It’s about the people who meet along the way. I feel that hard work always pays off and you just have to keep on working hard. There is no substitute for hard work. It’s not about luck, and people say you make your own. Yes, you do make your own luck, but you only get lucky if you work hard.

Your father was known to be outspoken and a confident man. So, have you inculcated the same trait? And do you think that hampers your chances somewhere in the industry?

I must say he was different. I’m different. I always have an opinion and always make a point. You gotta keep your head down and keep working and the results will bear fruits when they have to. So I’ve done that with my career in cinema. I’m extremely proud of the body of work that I’ve made over the years and of world-class filmmakers. I just feel that sometimes you yourself come in the way of your success or failure.  I’m a fighter. And I just feel that every failure makes you rise towards success. And if there was no failure, you would not learn anything. Success is not a teacher. Failure is. Only when you know that you have not performed well, you’re hungry to do better.

Angad Bedi

Is it hard to take up sports professionally at a later stage of your life?

It is hard. You know fitness; you have to lead the life of a monk, be extremely disciplined, sleep at a certain time and get up at a certain time. And eat accordingly. There are so many injuries that happen because you have to keep pushing your body. Then eventually, it’s all worth it. You have exhaustion issues with your body and sometimes your body and mind are not willing. But that’s what’s beautiful about the challenge. It is to challenge yourself, put yourself in uncomfortable positions, stay through and try to come out victorious. And I enjoy being uncomfortable.

What initially drew you to the world 
of acting?

My father, amongst many people. He was a lover and believer of cinema. We would often watch films together.

Angad Bedi

Who was his favourite actor?

Dilip Kumar Saab, Mr. Bachchan. He enjoyed Aamir Khan’s films a lot. He enjoyed watching Salman Khan a lot. He loved action. He loved Tiger Zinda Hai. He enjoyed Sultan, 3 Idiots and Lagaan a lot. I’m just happy I got to experience many films with him. And it was wonderful. Like my memories of my dad and me together, either of running, playing cricket, or watching cinema. These are the three things we used to do together.

How do you balance your personal aspirations in the industry with any expectations or pressures that might come from you?

I don’t feel any pressure. I just feel that I’ve always been blessed to be a part of cinema. I’m blessed to be an actor and blessed to work with the best filmmakers and producers. I just feel that this is what I’m born to do, and the almighty guides me. I have always been instinctive as far as my projects are concerned and I always love to be part of good stories and good cinema. As long as good stories are being made, you will find me there.

What are the kinds of roles or genres you are specifically passionate about?

I would like to explore comedy, drama, love stories and thrillers. These are things that I have not done. I would love to work with directors like Shakun Batra or Vikramaditya Motwane. I would love to do something that is larger than life.

Do you feel that you have not gotten the credit you deserve commercially?

The thing is, it’s a journey. I might get it today but not tomorrow. But then again, I’ll get it the day after. You have to be as honest as possible as an actor in saying these lines. And I believe that it’s never about one film. If I want to have a career of 35–40 years, then there will be many films that will be part of that journey. I have a long way to go, so if you ask this question, maybe 10 years from now, I will have a different answer.

What do you think is the most challenging project you’ve undertaken as of now?

I’ve done many things that are challenging because you have to learn a new sport altogether, which is hockey. And I had never played hockey. So yes, it’s been fun. That’s what makes you uncomfortable. It pushes you. Hi Nanna is my first Telugu film, which is also pan-Indian. And the language was challenging as well.
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