With the FIFA World Cup around the corner, Bollywood celebrities tell us who they are rooting for
This year’s edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) may have drawn to a close, but the next sports extravaganza to look forward to is the FIFA World Cup.
Ranbir Kapoor, known to be an avid football fan, may not be able to catch the games as he is busy shooting for his film.
And while football may not have as many fans as cricket in India, Bollywood, for one, is gearing up for all the excitement. We caught up with some film personalities to know who they are cheering for this time around...
Where are you watching it? I’ll be watching most of the matches on the sets of my upcoming film. But for the final (July 14), I’ll make sure I’ll take a day off and watch it in peace.
Team you’re supporting: Brazil.
Current favourite player: It has to be Cristiano Ronaldo.
Top World Cup memory: My best World Cup memory is that of Michael Owen’s wonder goal against Argentina during the 1998 World Cup. It was an amazing solo goal and he was a teenager at that time.
Where are you watching it? Since I’m not travelling, I’ll be watching most of the matches at home with dad (Jackie Shroff).
Team you’re supporting: I want Spain or Argentina to win the title.
Current favourite player: Lionel Messi, who else?
Top World Cup memory: Spain winning the trophy in 2010 is one of my prized memories from the World Cup. It might as well have been Barcelona lifting the title since majority of players belonged to that club.
Where are you watching it? I will catch a few big matches at clubs/cafes with friends. And the rest I plan to watch at home as and when time permits.
Team you’re supporting: I am supporting Argentina, but I think that Brazil is good too and they will put up a tough fight.
Current favourite player: Lionel Messi.
Top World Cup memory: My favourite memory dates back to the 2010 World Cup when Paul the Octopus was predicting the winner for each match. It was amazing to see it do it!
Where are you watching it? I never miss World Cup matches. This year too, I am planning to watch
as many as possible at my home as well as at a friend’s place.
Team you’re supporting: Spain and Argentina.
Top World Cup memory: Every World Cup (that I’ve watched so far) has been memorable. To me, it’s more about friends getting together and enjoying themselves.
Where are you watching it? I will be shooting for Guddu Rangila, so I guess I am going to watch the matches whenever I can — maybe at some makeshift arrangement. But along with me, there are a lot of football fanatics on the film’s sets, so maybe I will watch the matches after pack up in my hotel room where we’ll have a party of our own.
Team you’re supporting: It would have to be the Netherlands as I’m a huge fan of coach Louis van Gaal. I also love Robin van Persie.
Current favourite player: Wayne Rooney for his leadership qualities.
Top World Cup memory: Maradona’s Hand of God goal in 1986. That match was one for the books. Post the Hand of God, he dribbled past five English players to score another goal. That match is one of the best I’ve seen till date.
Where are you watching it? I’ll be catching most of the matches at home.
Team you’re supporting: Argentina.
Current favourite player: It’s Lionel Messi.
Top World Cup memory: Zinedine Zidane’s shocking headbutt to Marco Materazzi. That was out of the blue! (laughs) Zidane certainly deserved a better farewell match.
Where are you watching it? Most probably I’ll be watching most of the matches at home and I may have some friends over. If there are late night matches, I’ll be recording them to catch them later.
Team you’re supporting: I’m a Liverpool fan and since the English team is mostly comprising of them, I’ll go with England. I also believe they have a pretty good chance.
Current favourite player: Luis Suárez, not just because he’s from Liverpool but also because I don’t think many can match his determination. Despite the controversies, he has proved his worth on the big stage.
Top World Cup memory: My best memory goes back to the Doordarshan days of 1986 when Argentina was pitted against West Germany. I remember seeing the Maradona-led Argentines winning the title after losing the lead. That episode is etched on my mind.
Where are you watching it? I’ll be occupied with work, but I’ll try my best to catch some matches on TV and the internet. After all, this tournament comes along only once in four years.
Team you’re supporting: Brazil.
Current favourite player: Cristiano Ronaldo.
Top World Cup memory: Ronaldinho happens to be my favourite player of all time. I think his bizarre free kick against England in 2002, that proved to be a match-winner, is my fondest memory from over the years.
John, the football expert
A diehard football fan, John Abraham travelled to South Africa in 2010 to be part of the quadrennial tournament. This time around, he'll be dissecting the matches along with football stars like Peter Crouch, Robbie Fowler, Peter Shilton, Sunil Chetri and Mikaël Silvestre on the small screen.
Since John is also shooting for Rocky Handsome in Hyderabad, he is restricting himself to the role of a football pundit. “I don’t think I’ll be able to go to Brazil to catch all the action. But I can’t complain because I am also the producer of the film,” he says.
Filmmaker Bunty Walia is not only known for his love for football but also for organising celebrity football matches.
Over the years, hardcore football enthusiasts such as Ranbir Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapur and Dino Morea have participated in matches he put together.
In 2010, Bunty even hosted football match screenings. This year too, Bunty wants to bring the gang together but he is not sure about it given everyone’s busy schedules.
“Given our busy calendars, watching the entire tournament together doesn’t look possible this time around. But my aim is to catch the semifinals and the final match with the gang; it will be fun,” says the producer.