New Delhi: Star batsman Rohit Sharma, who will be seen in a superhero avatar in the digital comic series "Hyper Tygers" that was launched on Thursday, says he took the leap from the sports world to the creative field as "it marries" his concerns with his "passion". However, he doesn't feel that it marks his entry into the entertainment industry.
Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit shared that he considers the comic series, launched in collaboration with Graphic India, Britain-based ISM Komix and Cornerstone Sport, as a bridge to "reach out to" his fans.
Hyper Tygers is touted as the world's first superhero cricket team that plays futuristic 'Hyper Cricket' to save the environment, their village, and the world.
"If you care about your future and the future of your kids, then now is the time to take action and go green - I have always believed this. This opportunity immediately appealed to me. It marries my concerns with my passion, and the fit was unbeatable," Rohit told IANS in an exclusive email interview.
"I do not view it so much as me entering the entertainment industry at all, but more in the light of 'I can now use this medium to reach out to my fan base and share messaging that I care about, with a positive outcome for the planet'."
The "Hyper Tygers" e-books are available on DailyHunt starting Thursday and can be accessed free of charge for the first two weeks, after which each chapter will be priced at Rs 10. A new chapter of "Hyper Tygers" will be released every week.
What role do you think comics play in sending out a social message?
"I think that all media has the ability to communicate messages, no matter if it's TV, cinema, theatre or books. 'Hyper Tygers' as a comic book and an animated series (on digital platforms) is uniquely positioned in a way that they reach out to an audience of all age groups and the massive world of cricket fans.
"If we can embed the idea of being champions for the environment in everybody's minds, then we can hope to make the world a better place for everyone," he said.
"Hyper Tygers" is set in a futuristic India (in the year 2077) where technology is super-advanced. In fact, cricket has also been upgraded with a 'futuristic' twist for the series.
The superheroes play 'Hyper Cricket' -- which infuses technology to the sport -- and Rohit feels that "by showing a world in which cricket idols are making a difference, we hope to create tremendous impact with the comic and show that everyone, no matter who they are, can make a difference".
Calling it a "great" concoction, Rohit says it "has been a long time coming", adding that the story is at par with any "graphic novel on a global level".
Xan Morgan, who was part of Prime Minister David Cameron's 2012 trade delegation to India, representing the environment and water from Britain, is the co-creator of the series. "Hyper Tygers" is also developing original storylines with British charity Elephant Family, founded by Mark Shand, brother of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
ISM Komix and Graphic India will also be planning a worldwide animation, digital video and gaming strategy around "Hyper Tygers".
The cricketer feels "it is never too young to create an awareness for the preservation of the environment in a child's mind or anybody's mind. Today we need this more than we ever did."
Rohit is considered to be a youth icon, and he says with the role comes responsibility to "inspire people".
"I try to do that with my career and I hope to do that with the 'Hyper Tygers' comic and animated series. If people look to the example of the 'Hyper Tygers' to try to be the best at cricket while trying to be more environmentally conscious I'm confident we can make the world a better place sooner rather than later," he said.