Some want Rahul Gandhi, some say MS Dhoni and a few even Saina Nehwal — but Delhiites are clear that they want a young sports star, and not a Bollywood face, as the brand ambassador for the Commonwealth Games to be held in the Capital in October.
While Prince Charles of England has confirmed he will be in Delhi to flag off the Games, the Organising Committee is on the lookout for a celebrity face that mirrors modern India. HT City spoke to a cross-section of celebs and Delhiites on who they’d want to see in the coveted position.
“It should be Rahul Gandhi. He’s not just a youth icon but also reflects India’s progressive image,” says Shelly Thapar, 23, a DU law student. “We don’t need a Big B or an SRK for this. Why can’t we have someone dynamic such as politician Sachin Pilot?” says Sunil Singh, a Science student. Tennis sensation Sania Mirza also figures on the wishlist. “Sania being young and successful is the ideal choice,” feels actor Vinay Pathak.
Cricketers, too, make the cut. “Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be a great choice. He has instant youth connect,” says Abhimanyu Trivedi, a BPO executive. Designer Rina Dhaka’s vote goes to the master blaster. “I’d want to see Sachin Tendulkar there. He’s unassuming and a genius.”
While many such as HR consultant Raman Kapoor say “actress Katrina Kaif can help popularise the event”, most feel sports stars deserve to be on the billboards. Musician Raghu Dixit roots for badminton ace Saina Nehwal as “she’s the most hardworking sports woman in our country”.
Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Secretary General Lalit Bhanot confirms it will be a sports icon. “We’ll finalise it in a month. Then we’ll decide which other celebs to get on board,” he says.
Star support for sanitation
While actor Aamir Khan and lyricist Javed Akhtar are out there promoting the Games, ‘Toilet Man’ Jack Sim has a more important cause in mind. The World Toilet Organisation founder wants a celeb to endorse the need for sanitation in India.
He says the poor sanitation habits and conditions in the country can dent the ‘Brand India’ image during the Games. He suggests India to capitalise on the mega-sporting event to change the poor public toilet image and service standards.
“Children and women suffer the most from lack of sanitation. India needs [leadership of] a movie star or a cricket player to promote good sanitation provisions, professionalise the cleaners and promote good user behaviour,” he said.