Bollywood isn’t something that has overly interested me, maybe because I was brought up abroad. I don’t watch many Hindi films. Opportunities have come my way, but I haven’t given them any consideration because this isn’t my area of focus,” asserts Sidhartha Mallya, shrugging off speculations about a Bollywood debut.
He also dismisses rumours about moving to Los Angeles for an acting career in Hollywood.
“Acting isn’t something I’m pursuing currently,” he says. “But I’m working on building my persona and exploring exciting brand-led opportunities in the entertainment and lifestyle space, both in India and abroad. That’s why I’ve signed on with my agency KWAN.”
Sidhartha currently hosts an online chat show on cricket called No Boundaries that in 40-minute episodes, split over four stages, gives fans a chance to get to know players off the field.
“Having me conduct video interviews that are posted on the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) site gives the show a unique angle. We started with RCB players, but have since shot with officials from other teams too,” says Sidhartha, who recently interviewed West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle, whose six had hit a little girl in the stands. “We had gone to visit the child in the hospital and I got to see a side to Chris that not many have. He was comforting and probably more shaken up by the episode than the little girl,” he recalls.
Sid is now planning to shoot two episodes a week
On paper, Royal Challengers Bangalore is rock solid, with captain Daniel Vettori leading a team that includes, among others, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Zaheer Khan, Vinay Kumar and Muttiah Muralidharen Gautam replacing Anil Kumble. Last year, Chennai Superkings beat RCB in the IPL finals. This season RCB started off as favourites but have gone off-track with even mentor Kumble unable to work his magic.
But, argues franchise owner Sidhartha Mallya, “It’s a long season so it’s important to peak at the right time. We’ve lost more matches than we’d have liked and now need to move forward and build some momentum. There’re still a few games to go and we have every chance of qualifying for the knockout stages. Then it’s a case of who’s better on the day.”
Sidhartha says Anil’s role is to mentor younger players in the squad: “For many of them the IPL experience can be overwhelming and it’s important to groom them to deal with the money and attention. Anil does that very well.”
Any regrets about losing Rahul Dravid who was peeved with the treatment meted out to him by the Mallyas? “I’m sure our fans would like to see Rahul back in Bangalore like Kolkata Knight Rider faithfuls would want Dada (Sourav Ganguly) back in Kolkata,” Mallya admits. “But we went into the auction last year with a clear plan of what we wanted. Was Rahul upset that we didn’t buy or retain him? I don’t know, you better ask him!”
One lucky cricket fan can watch the Mumbai Indians v/s Royal Challengers Bangalore match live at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on May 9. All you have to do is send in a question for the next episode of Sidhartha’s online chat show, featuring Muttiah Muralitharan and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
The best question gets a ticket. Log in to www.facebook. com/KWANspeak and www.twitter.com/KWANspeak