Abhishek, Aishwarya, Shahrukh had a great 'kabaddi' time

In India it is often rued that games other than cricket do not get enough attention and support. While it is true that the sports scenario in India could do with much improvement, for once a sport other than cricket saw tremendous star support. At the launch of the Pro Kabaddi League, Bollywood icons Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar all made their presence felt. Also present were Farah Khan, Suniel Shetty, Boman Irani and others. The inaugural ceremony and the first match were held on Saturday at Mumbai’s NSCI stadium. Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan owns a franchise in the league, the Jaipur Pink Panthers. His team faced U MUMBA, owned by producer Ronnie Screwala.  Other members of the Bachchan family were also present.

Abhishek’s team lost the game but he remained upbeat and tweeted “Unfortunate loss last night. Thank you all so much for the support. Congratulations to @U_Mumba and @RonnieScrewvala for a deserved win.” Amitabh Bachchan wrote on Twitter, “T 1158 - Pro Kabaddi today started .. Jaipur Pink Panthers v U Mumba .. we LOST !! No sweat! great atmosphere, and great turnout .. watch”. He also wrote in his blog, “Grateful to all the stars and friends that came out in support - Shah Rukh and Sachin and Aamir, and so many others ... and a blast we had, cheering this very Indian sport ... an occasion a first for India and the game ... great fun ...I do hope that we continue to play it the way it has been designed, with all the prominent corporates coming in and many celebrities joining the gang ...!!”

Sachin Tendulkar was personally invited by Abhishek Bachchan. At the event he said, “I am here to support the sport. Couple of days ago, Abhishek called me and said we are having this Kabbadi league match and this is the first game and why don’t you come here, so I am here.” Aamir Khan also seemed happy and said, “ It is very exciting to watch the game. I used to play in my childhood and I am seeing it after a long time and enjoying it. It is an amazing game and it is totally Indian.”

Pro Kabaddi League has eight franchises based on eight different cities. At present it is being managed by veteran sports commentator Charu Sharma through the organization Mashal Sports. He told the media, "Ours is a crusade fighting thick and deep-set vaults of perception in our own country about our own sport…The league will showcase the new sophisticated format to the rest of us. In time, we will realize we were silly not to support it."