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Be a sport, Gill tells Bollywood stars

Sports Minister MS Gill urges Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan to sponsor a team or a player and inspire Indian sports as he did in his film Chak De India. Chetan Chauhan reports.

india Updated: Apr 12, 2008 03:03 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Sports Minister MS Gill wants to link Bollywood with sports, which he feels will improve India’s performance at the international arena. He has urged stars to sponsor outstanding sportsperson so that financial resources are not a constraint in their performance.

Speaking to HT, Gill asked Shah Rukh Khan to sponsor a team or a player and inspire Indian sports as he did in his film Chak De India.

“He can begin with sponsoring four women athletes of the Indian relay team. Only Rs 5-10 lakh would be required. I think he can spare that much money for Indian sports.”

The minister said Shah Rukh bought a cricket team at the IPL — the Kolkata Knightriders for a staggering $75.09 million — and though it’s a commercial venture, the star can give something back to the country by sponsoring needy sportsperson.

Gill has specific players for Shah Rukh; for other stars, like Hrithik Roshan, he said they could pick any player to sponsor. “Except cricket or may be tennis, there is no money in any other sports. If Bollywood joins hands with us, the future of other sports would be bright,” he said.

The minister admitted that Indian sportspersons, except those in cricket, don’t get adequate facilities and have to struggle for resources. If the money comes from Bollywood stars, for whom supporting few sportspersons would not be a big deal, the financial crunch can be resolved to some extent.

“It can do to other sports what glamour has done to cricket.”