Taapsee Pannu buys a team in Premier Badminton League; says this is her ‘biggest venture’ till date
Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu has had a great year so far — Soorma, Mulk, and Manmarziyaan — all three of her films were received well by fans and lauded by critics. And now, she’s all set to add another feather to her cap. Taapsee has bought a team in the Premier Badminton League and she calls it her “biggest venture till date”. Excited about her strategy and love for the sport, she says, “At this moment, I’m only concentrating on making this venture successful... I’ve decided to go with the flow and decide the future depending upon how this works out.”
How did you get this idea to buy a badminton team?
I always wanted to get into sport and since, obviously, I couldn’t be a player — that’s not practical — I wanted to be associated with something that I’ve played or known well. Badminton has been a special sport for all of us, because everyone has played this sport at least once in their life.
Also, it’s not really a switch [from the movies]. A couple of years back, when I started my wedding planning company, people thought the same way: that it’s a diversion. It’s not. I’m getting into a business where I feel completely disconnected from my main profession: acting. It helps me rejuvenate when I use my energy in different directions, and then come back to acting. And thanks to my acting career, I’m at a stage where I could actually take this leap of starting something as big as this.
What’s your team strategy?
I’m entering the league with the Pune team. It’d be called Pune Seven Aces. Since the [player] auction is on October 8, in Delhi, my effort will be to have a good mix of ethnicity, so we can have a strong team from all over. The mantra will be, ‘make sure they serve the entertainment attached to badminton’. We want to make sure you enjoy the match. So, expect a lot of entertainment in terms of players being ready to show their fun side along with the expertise they have in the sport.
And your favourite badminton players?
My favourite players will always be my fellow Indians, including PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Srikanth Kidambi, Prannoy Kumar, Chirag Shetty, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, and Ashwini Ponnappa. I always cheer for them, no matter who’s playing opposite them. But, if I have pick [names] apart from Indian players, then I’ll have different names: Tai Tzu-ying, Carolina Marin in women’s singles, Chen Long and Viktor Axelsen in men’s singles; and in doubles, I like Liliyana Natsir, Zhao Yunlei, Lee Yong-dae, and Chris Adcock.
Does a film actor’s association with a sport increase its reach?
Definitely, I’d want to believe that as an actor, I can add value to this league. I really wish I can; as a league in India, it deserves more attention and it has much potential. And the kind of players that we have, especially, are in the best form to perform well in tournaments. If my presence can help in any way, I’m more than happy to contribute. I’m looking forward to this league becoming bigger and bigger from here. I’d do my best to push it as much as I can personally, whatever I can do to bring attention to this league.
Do you feel people take these celebrity leagues less seriously? And are there plans to buy an IPL team, too?
Some people might think that it makes a sport less serious, but the format of this game is different from regular badminton tournaments, so you actually don’t feel like you’re watching a regular badminton game. This league has really high standards of participation where players are concerned. Adding a certain entertainment quotient to it will only make the league more attractive without taking away anything from the sincerity of the sport.
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