Abhishek Bachchan has joined the Pro Kabaddi revolution with being the owner of Jaipur franchise. "If everything goes according to plan this will be a quantum leap for the sport. To give it a professional league and infrastructure and with Star Sports coming on board, I think it will revolutionse the sport," he said.
Actor Abhishek Bachchan during a media conference in the city. Pic/Pradeeo Dhivar
The actor who is currently working on the auction for his franchise said, "There is so much excitement amongst the kabaddi-playing community and all of them are looking forward to being part of this league.
"Deoraj Chaturvedi (CEO of International Kabaddi Federation) has been getting calls from players from all over the country to know more about it.
Agreed we are cricket-loving country and I am no different. I have been a sportsman in school and for any sports person to get that platform to perform is a very big deal."
Along with platform comes the money that is an attraction too and kabaddi is looked upon as a poor man's sport. Abhishek disagrees, "It is not a poor man's sport. I think this league according to me is going to be a game changer and that is our endeavour.
"As a team owner, I want to concentrate on the urban youth and I want them to think besides cricket, tennis and football. This game is cool as well. It's very exciting, action packed and an entertaining sport to watch."
When asked what lured him to the sport, he said it was the historical status of the sport. "The history of the sport goes back to the Mahabharata when Abhimanyu was stuck in the chakravyuh. It is the only indigenous Indian sport. We are the undisputed champions when it comes to kabaddi."
He added that besides the historical factor, passion is also one of the aspects which drive him. "It is about passion first and ownership is a distant second. Being a sportsman, I get very excited about the management of it but it has to be driven by passion. I am not looking upon this as a financial avenue.
I am looking at it as an opportunity to do something in sports and what better sport to choose than kabaddi. "Having said that, I am a sports fan and I would love to be associated with any sport to help Indian sport move forward," the actor stated.
Besides hoping that this league will become a game-changer, he wishes that there is change in the mindset too. He said, "I see there is a lot of frivolity associated with sports as a career." Bachchan Jr highlighted that his first impression of kabaddi came as a child thanks to his father.
"My first memory of kabaddi was my dad's film 'Ganga Ki Saugandh' in which he plays kabaddi and my first scene in 'Yuva' has me playing kabaddi too. So, yes, my first introduction to the sport was through my dad."
Each franchise will have three foreign players with Pakistan and Sri Lanka nationals too in the fray. This may have some political ramifications in Mumbai and Chennai. Bachchan hopes sports trumps all but resigned that they will follow the law in the end. "I hope they will be allowed to play, I do believe that sports has to transcend all political differences.
But we will follow law of the land," he said. When asked about the celeb quotient with more and more celebrities investing in sports, the actor said, "I am not here to wave out to fans but I am part of this because I am passionate about sports. Even my other friends and celebs who are involved in other sports are passionate about the sport."