Pitch after Pi: Suraj trains for home run

FPDinesh Patel and Suraj Sharma at Ramjas College in New Delhi

At first glance, Suraj Sharma, the 5'11", lean, bespectacled actor, seems an odd choice to play the 6'3", 190-pound baseball pitcher Rinku Singh in the upcoming Hollywood movie Million Dollar Arm. Also, Rinku pitches with his left arm; Suraj is decidedly right-handed.

"I don't think it's going to be a problem," said Ash Vasudevan, co-founder of the eponymous reality TV show which Rinku won in 2008, and on which the movie is based. "The movie is more about Rinku's journey from Lucknow to America after winning the show," he said.

Rinku told The Indian Express from Florida, "Suraj wanted to know all sorts of things about me, especially my life before I won the Million Dollar Arm TV show. I have seen Life of Pi, I really liked his work." Rinku, the son of a truck driver, is now a club player in Major League Baseball.

However, Rinku said laughing, if he were to pick the cast of the movie, he would've chosen Sylvester Stallone.

Shooting will start in May. Suraj has been taking lessons from four coaches including Dinesh Patel, who finished second in the talent hunt.

Suraj, who was picked for Pi's role from 3,000 others, said he could relate to Dinesh and Rinku, others who made it big from obscurity. "The fields are different, but the feeling one goes through is the same," he said.

(With inputs from Wajiha Shah)

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