Abhishek Bachchan on his new role as an owner of a kabaddi team, his desire to act in a Yuvraj Singh biopic and how wife Aishwarya talked him into accepting Dhoom 3.
How did the decision to buy a kabaddi team originate?
Well, it all started sometime last year when Charu (Sharma) shared the idea of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) that he and Anand (Mahindra) were working on. He showed me all the research that they had put together and I was instinctively kicked about it. I’m very happy to own the Jaipur Kabaddi PKL team. Your love for Chelsea is legendary as is your deep support for Team India and Mumbai Indians IPL team.
When did this affinity with sports start?
I’ve always been big on sports. When we were growing up, we were not so much into watching television. Every Sunday, a bunch of us used to play cricket, football and pithu outside the gates of Prateeksha. Whenever Dad (Amitabh Bachchan) was around, he used to join us and teach me. But there is one game that I taught him and it’s basketball. That’s because at that time basketball wasn’t played in India. I picked it up in my boarding school. In fact, I was captain of the basketball team in school. But my Dad introduced me to sports in a big way. He introduced me to the Brazilian football team. He introduced me to Muhammad Ali. I remember he used to collect these VHS tapes that had the recordings of all the great games so I saw the likes of Pele, Zico, Socrates in action. It just started from there and grew. That’s how I started All Stars Football Club, where a group of like-minded football loving guys get together and play for charity. I attribute a lot to sports in the shaping up of my personality.
Why buy a kabaddi team and not a cricket or football team? Why not kabaddi?
It’s a heritage sport. It is believed that it comes down from the times of Mahabharata. They say that Abhimanyu’s Chakravyuh — where one person was against seven — was a form of kabaddi. We are a cricket-loving nation and hockey is our national sport but kabaddi is the only indigenous sport and there’s no spotlight on it. It’s looked upon as a rural sport but you’ll be amazed with its reach. Do you know that in Mumbai itself there are 450 kabaddi clubs? Do you know that India has won all five Kabaddi World Cups and has won the Asian Games six times?
How much of this is business driven and how much is it about passion?
I’d be lying if I said that it’s a 100 per cent passion project. Nobody wants to lose money ever. But I firmly believe that in order to do something continued…