'Passionate About Polo' - Rajiv Mehra


After days of pursuing, we finally meet Rajiv Mehra on the sets of Shanno ki Shaadi. Taking a short break from his hectic shooting schedule, Mehra lights up a cigarette as we settle down for a brief tete-e-tete. After chatting up the salt-n-pepper producer/director about his soon to be launched show 'Kasme Vaade' and his other on-air projects like Shararat we slowly dicover a rather sporty side to this ace producer.

He reveals, "I am very passionate about the game of Polo and I've been pursuing it for almost two decades now. I love cricket too, but I just watch the game." Taking a nostalgic trip from his earlier days, he goes on, " while in school I got fond of horse riding. My maternal uncle who used to stay at Napeansea road would accompany me to the race course at the Mahalaxmi race course. As my love for riding grew and then later I got totally hooked on to the game of Polo."

"I joined the Amateur Riders' Club at Mahalaxmi and started participating in sports like Show Jumping [going over an obstacle while riding] Tent Pegging, [unearthing the peg with a lance while riding a galloping horse] Dressage rider doing various moves in co-ordination with the horse]," says the student of Scholar High School and H. R. College who won the championship in Tent Pegging at an individual as well as at a National level playing for Western India

Now Polo is only a leisure activity

"I have been pursuing the game seriously for almost two decades now. But now I don't really have the time for serious tournaments, it's only a leisure game.The reason being that the game requires tremendous fitness levels, a lot of time and a string of Polo ponies. I used to get away to places like Delhi and Jaipur for a month or so to participate in all the tournaments. The fitness levels of a Polo player should be almost at par with that of a Squash player or an American Football player," says Mehra who in his younger days used to ride for an hour in the mornings and evenings to keep fit.

On a lighter vein, he continues,"it was not as if the horse was doing all the work but that was not the case. To take the ball to make a goal on a galloping horse with a rough stick (read Mallet) over the pitch [spanning over 300 by 200 square yards] requires utmost physical and mental agility

Polo Ponies

As the sugarless coffee arrives,we ask him about how many horses he maintains? " earlier between me and a friend we used to maintain about 3 to 4 horses. Now as the chairman of the Amateurs Riders Club at Mahalaxmi, I urge the television fraternity to avail of all the advantages of this sport in Mumbai. We encourage women too to pursue the game."

Rajiv's tips to aspiring polo players:

  • Be ready to maintain several polo ponies. A Polo player needs to change at least four ponies for one game per day. That is because 1 polo chakkar offers seven and a half minute of playtime that is bound to tire the horse. Since one game of Polo consists of six chakkars one needs to maintain a string of ponies as they could get injured or ill too.
  • Become the member of Amateur Rider's Club at Mahalaxmi as it offers the cheapest facilities in the world where it buys and maintains the horses. It also charges minimum for playing one chakkar. The upkeep of the horse is cheap at Rs 1000 per horse per month against a Singapore Club that charges 3.5 lacs for the upkeep of a horse which is really steep.

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