Bollywood-ization of Sports

Keep aside Indian Premier League, Bollywood is slowly making its foray into virtually every existing sport in the country be it Football, Hockey or even Kabaddi. But obviously with due credit to the IPL, because of which started a chain of ‘leagues’ one after the other. The IPL saw many celebrities come up and take ownership of various teams.
Star owners like Shahrukh Khan, Juhi Chawla (Kolkata KnightRiders), Preity Zinta (Kings XI Punjab) not only lend financial support but also ensure worldwide publicity which further boosts the image of the game and draws enormous crowd. With the advent of the IPL, other sports like Football and Hockey having got their chance at a similar facelift, albeit after a patient wait. Leagues inspired from the IPL have started coming up and have also got the backing of India’s premier entertainment industry. The recently concluded Pro Kabaddi League and the on-going Indian Super League are two such examples. Abhishek Bachchan owns the Jaipur franchise of the league, the Jaipur Pink Panthers, who were the winners of the inaugural edition. There is also World Kabaddi League which has Sonakshi Sinha, Akshay Kumar and Yo Yo Honey Singh among others as the star owners.
The Indian Super League also has Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham, MS Dhoni in regular attendance at the matches of their respective teams. Abhishek Bachchan, being the ardent sports enthusiast that he is, also co-owns the Chennai franchise of the league along with Dhoni. Hrithik Roshan made it just in time as the co-owner of the Pune franchise. Abraham also is the owner of the Delhi franchise of the Hockey India League, the Delhi Waveriders. “My vision is to see hockey in the forefront of all sports played in India once again, and soon, this vision is going to be a reality,” says John. . Cynics might state that involving film celebrities and glamorizing sports takes the focus out of the game but they have helped in generating hype and interest for games other than sports.

For decades, India has been blamed for concentrating only on cricket and not training players of other sports to match the international standards. But with privatization, league tournaments and Bollywood slowly taking interest in games other than cricket, Indian sports has taken a positive step forward.

[author image=”” ]I am Anurag Sharma pursuing bachelor in Journalism and Mass Communication from Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Management Studies, Delhi. Football is like a religion for me and one day I wish to become a sports journalist. [/author]

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