…says actor and co-owner of Chennaiyin FC Abhishek Bachchan
By Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
Tell us about your football obsession?
I love football and have been extremely passionate about the game since my younger years. Though I was never a football player and played basketball on the contrary, I have watched football since my boarding days. Football needed a support system in India and I am doing my bit. I am here for my team Chennaiyin FC but we have immense respect for FC Goa. I am in awe of the FC Goa coach Zico who has come here for ISL.
You sported a team for the Kabaddi pro league, the Jaipur Pink Panthers. You co-own Chennaiyin FC. What are your intentions for sports in India?
The intention is simple, to make a difference to the sport. Professionally organised leagues like these will help in infrastructure creation. Add to this crowd support and you see gusto coming into the game. My association with football is not a temporary one. It is for life. It brings in the much needed support for the game besides developing on par with international standards with expertise and resources.
Do you think ISL opens a new page in Indian football history?
Absolutely! Our main aim is to ensure that India gets a berth in the 2026 World Cup. ISL is a giant step towards that long term dream. And if that doesn’t happen 12 years from now, some serious thinking will need to be done.
Don’t you think our education system needs to change and more importance needs to be given to sports?
I think the need is to change the perception that sports is not a viable profession in India. ISL will also contribute towards changing that mindset as people will see Indian stars emerging from the field of play and making it not just rich, but successful too.
To lightly touch upon Bollywood and your forthcoming release ‘Happy New Year’. How was it working with SRK?
It’s always a pleasure to be around SRK. More than a colleague he is an elder brother for whom I have a great deal of respect. This is my second film with him and I thoroughly enjoyed myself and had a memorable experience working with him.
When will we see you in a solo role, not sharing space with another male co-star?
That’s not done! A film is all about team effort and doesn’t matter whether there is one lead male or three. It is a collaborative effort and will always be so for me. A film is a film after all.