Kochi, Dec 18 (IANS) A galaxy of VVIPs, including none other than Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, his actor son Abhishek Bacchan and rival finalists team co-owners, cricket icons Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, stole the show ahead of the Indian Super League (ISL) final here on Sunday.
All these celebrities arrived at different times, early in the day at the Kochi international airport and were received at the airport by a huge number of fans who were seen cheering each of them.
While Tendulkar, who co-owns the Kerala Blasters team, did not react to the questions posed by the media, his former captain Ganguly, who co-owns the Kolkatta team, said that, in the league stage, his team had beaten Kerala Blasters here.
ISL’s promoter Football Sports Development Limited’s founder and chairperson Nita Ambani, who arrived early in the day said she was excited at seeing the huge Kochi crowd and said may the best team win.
Bollywood megastar Amitabh hoped the boisterous Kerala crowd which was a sellout for the final between Kerala Blasters and Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) sets the template for everyone across the country.
“I have not seen such a big crowd,” Bachchan said during half-time. “The kind of enthusiasm I see here in Kerala is amazing. I really want to thank Nita (Ambani) ji for bringing it to such a large level.
“I hope this continues and may this crowd be an example for the rest of India,” Big B, whose son Abhishek is the co-owner of defending champions Chenaiyin FC, added.
The senior Bachchan has been to ISL venues supporting Chennaiyin with his son and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
“With Tendulkar and his Mumbai team flying down the big names in the Bollywood industry, the Mollywood (Malayalam film industry) stars might not be that enthusiastic,” said an ISL official when asked why the Malayalam stars are not present in good numbers.
But upcoming Malayalam star Nivin Pauly arrived at the Kochi Blaster’s hotel here to wish the team the best — as did former Union Minister of Civil Aviation Praful Patel.