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By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
John says there are two things in life that he is very confident about. "One is biking and the other football, or shall we call it soccer, as people love to identify with American football these days. I've done my bikers' movie Dhoom. Enough has been said and seen about my love for bikes. We now have enough young guys zooming around on bikes .But what about football? I want it to acquire the same popularity and legitimacy as bikes….and cricket."
John feels the only game in this country that has a life outside the celeb-field is cricket. "Shahrukh Khan was the best thing to happen to hockey (after Chak De India). Otherwise, I feel every game including football needs a star to promote it. And I'm ready to do everything within my means to make sure the game gets the same fame as cricket. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy and the politics of this country is not conducive to a healthy atmosphere for any kind of discussion on the health of the nation."
John has met the Information&Broadcasting Minister and president of All India Football Federation Priya Das Munshi several times. "Yes I've met him repeatedly about the future of football and how to push the game. He's a lovely man and he feels for the game. We"d like to take the game to another level. Along with the producers of my new football film UTV, we've designed a ground-contact programme. I can play the game, I"m not faking it. If I can be convincing in promoting biking why not football? I want the ball to become an epicenter of glamour. When youngsters see the football in my hand they should think it's cool."
John feels cricket is too formidable a competition for football. "But if you want to know, I want to make football instead of cricket the new favourite game of the country. I had hoped to get every smoker and his wife to watch No Smoking and to convert some into non-smokers. What's the point of being a celebrity if you can't influence minds in a positive way?"