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Always wanted to play my part for Badminton: Taapsee Pannu

While Pannu’s team paid a huge Rs 80 Lakhs for Olympic champion Carolina Marin, the talented Indian duo of Ajay Jayaram and Lakshya Sen were extremely cheap buys.

other sports Updated: Oct 12, 2018 08:41 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Taapsee Pannu,Pune 7 Aces,Premier Badminton League
Taapsee Pannu was announced as the co-owner of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) side Pune 7 Aces. (File image)(Getty Images for TIFF)

Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu became the latest celebrity to invest in a sports franchise as she was announced as the co-owner of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) side Pune 7 Aces. The actress, who is well known for her roles in Pink and Manmarziyan, was at the middle of the proceedings right away as she was present at this year’s auction in New Delhi and when asked about the reasons behind her latest venture, Pannu said that she wanted to do her part for the ‘ family sport of India’.

“I have been following badminton for quite some time and I know most of the Indian players personally. So, I always wanted to play my part for the sport. According to me, badminton is the family sport of India and the excellent show by our players have made sure that the popularity has grown almost tenfold in the last few years,” Pannu told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview.

Pannu received a lot of praise from the audience and critics alike for her role in Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyan and coincidentally, her co-star in the film – Abhishek Bachchan – has a lot of experience when it comes to sports franchises with stakes in Indian Super League (ISL) team Chennaiyin FC and Pro Kabaddi League (PBL) side Jaipur Pink Panthers. Pannu said that he did not inform Bachchan about her new move earlier but she is sure that he will help her in figuring out the new challenges.

“It will be a surprise for him. Actually, I didn’t tell anyone about this move as I am superstitious when it comes to new beginnings. He wished me luck when he got the news and I told him that I will need expert advice. He is a good friend of mine and when I need help, I am sure that he will be there.”

Pune 7 Aces had a great outing at this year’s PBL Auction as they were able to get a number of top quality players and the new franchise also ended up saving Rs 14 Lakhs. While Pannu’s team paid a huge Rs 80 Lakhs for Olympic champion Carolina Marin, the talented Indian duo of Ajay Jayaram and Lakshya Sen were extremely cheap buys. The team also includes Olympic silver medallist Mathias Boe and Commonwealth Games team gold medallist Chirag Shetty. Pannu was ecstatic about the new acquisitions and she proudly declared that her team were able to get all the players on her wish list.

“I think so many years of following the sport finally paid off. I watch a lot of badminton and as a result, I know more or less about the forms of most of the players. I got all the players that I had in my list for all the disciplines and I am extremely happy with how the team looks right now,” she said.

However, with Carolina Marin becoming the marquee signing, Taapsee will find herself in a sort of awkward position where she will have to root against Indian talents like PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal. When asked about her situation, the actress said that it will be weird for her to root against her compatriots but was quick to point out the team will have her undivided support.

“It will be slightly funny as I have never cheered for anyone except for my country’s players. I have always supported Indian players and specially Sindhu who gave me a number of heart attacks during those close finals. So, it will be a bit weird for me to suddenly root against those players,” she said.

First Published: Oct 12, 2018 08:32 IST