VISAKHAPATNAM: Portraying histrionics on the silver screen is his first love. It runs in his blood. But his passion for sports is something phenomenal. No wonder then, Abhishek Bachchan is perhaps the only Bollywood actor to own franchises of two leagues in India. While Pink Panthers is his kabaddi team, Chennaiyan Football Club is the team that he owns.
The charismatic actor went gaga over the two Hyderabad sporting icons _ Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal. “Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal are legends,” he said with visible glowing pride.
But what has made the junior Bachchan happy is that there was an overall improvement in sport in the country. “What is very nice that although India were showing improvement in team sport, the individual sport is also doing well, be it in badminton or tennis, shooting. It is nice to see all around sport in general is doing well,” he said.
Bachchan said he was a sportsman himself when he was in college. “I always kept up with sports. I am a huge sports fan and I firmly believe that sports has been instrumental in forming a character and is an integral part of any child’s upbringing. For me sports has always been a part of my life. I always wanted to be associated with sports in some way or the other.”
But how did you come to own a kabaddi team? And it came by a chance. “The first team I owned was kabaddi. This happened by chance. Charu Sharma met me three or four years ago. We met him at a place, Look I know you’re a very big sports fan, specially basketball and football. But have you ever thought of doing something about kabaddi? At one point of time I felt like I need to do something. That is when he got me interested and that is how Pro Kabaddi started off. He took me to a match and I was delighted. That is when I signed on and I was the first few franchises to sign on and took it from there.’’ He said he was apprehensive at the start of Pro Kabaddi. “But there was always a belief that this is going to work but nobody was sure. At the same time, anyone associated with Pro Kabaddi, thought it was a bit of a gamble, a risk. It was something that all franchises were determined for a long run and make it successful. But did we know as successful straight off the bat? Nobody knew that.’’
On his legendary father Amitabh being a sports fan and his tweets on sports achievements, he said, “Is it? I will tell him. He is an avid sports fan. If he has any free time, which is rare, he watches sports action.” He signed off by saying it is wonderful as far as being his son and as actor also. “Your reel life hero and real life hero are the same persons. That is a blessing.’’