‘I feel an immense sense of achievement’
A self-confessed football fanatic Ranveer Singh gets ready to don a new role as he talks about the popularity of the sport in India.bollywood Updated: Dec 25, 2017 16:17 IST
Amidst his next release, Padmavati getting postponed, Ranveer Singh has enough reasons to celebrate. The actor, who has been named the brand ambassador for English Premiere League (EPL) in India, was in England over the weekend watching his first match of the season. In an exclusive chat with HT, Ranveer talks about his new role, the popularity of football in India and more.
You are very vocal about your love for football and your support for Arsenal. How big a deal is this for you?
I feel on top of the world. I have an immense sense of achievement. It is a huge honour. I am such a huge fan of football and within the gamut of football, the one thing that I love the most is EPL football and to be the official brand ambassador of this league in India is a real big deal for me.
Did you ever think of taking up this sport professionally?
As a kid, when you are growing up, you play these little games with yourself where you are pretending to be a sportstar because it is one of the most glorious things one can do. I imagined myself as a footballer, cricketer but of course, like I have always maintained, as far back as I can remember, more than anything, I have always wanted to be a Hindi film hero so I am kind of living the dream in that sense and this is also a dream come true. It doesn’t get better than this.
Is it an exciting time to be an ambassador for football especially when the sport in the country is going through a huge change?
It is a very exciting time for football in India. Traditionally, we have always had cricket at the forefront and that continues to be the case. but there is no denying that football is growing by leaps and bounds. You have the ISL and the younger generation is taking such a keen interest in football. It is truly the global game. We are not far from our National team representing India in the World Cup. Also, playing a sport teaches you a lot.
When I was in school, I was in the football team and the cricket team. I can’t boast of having the best skills but I played with a lot of heart. The values and attitude that you learn can be very enriching for any young mind. I am always encouraging of youngsters getting involved in any kind of sport and it’s so heartening to see how youngsters in India have taken to football. Before EPL was being telecast in India, we were only consuming cricket but now there is an entire generation that has grown up watching football and are bigger football fans. Football is catching up to the popularity of cricket in India and that is huge
A lot of your peers in Bollywood own Indian Super League (ISL) teams. Did that thought never cross your mind?
There have been several opportunities but I have always believed that I can’t force an association. So when this opportunity came, I jumped at it and I was like absolutely. Bam, boom. That’s why my first official association is with EPL. I have had several opportunities, but I held back waiting for the one thing that really felt right and I am content with my decision.