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Swachh Bharat, National Anthem, Amitabh Bachchan to dominate Pro Kabaddi 2 marketing blitzkrieg

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MUMBAI: Bollywood’s quintessential superstar Amitabh Bachchan is emerging as the flag bearer of Star Sports’ Pro Kabaddi League season 2 marketing blitzkrieg. It all began with Bachchan composing and singing the anthem song ‘Le Panga’ for the league. Star India converted the entire recording studio voyage to a television commercial (TVC) and is telecasting it across its network.

However, Bachchan’s contribution to the marketing campaign of Pro Kabaddi League season 2 is not just limited to the anthem that he composed and sung. This year, the tournament has integrated with many national awareness initiatives and special importance has been given to the Indian National Anthem. Bachchan will mark the beginning of Pro Kabaddi League season 2 not by lighting lamp but by crooning the National Anthem of the country.

“Every match will start with the Indian National Anthem and we are delighted to announce that in the first match MrBachchan will sing the national anthem and mark the opening of the tournament. Kabaddi is a homegrown sport and pride and honour is deeply associated with the sport,” said Star Sports head NitinKukreja.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com Pro Kabaddi initiator and Mashal Sports director Charu Sharma said, “Last year also we wanted to have renowned singers on board to start matches by singing National Anthem, but it wasn’t possible and we played the instrumental version of it. This year, we will have many significant dignitaries and Amitabh Bachchan is one of them. To start with him was pre-planned and his personality is one of the reasons behind it.”

International Kabaddi Federation president Janardhan Singh Ghelot opined, “For every Indian whenever the national anthem is sung in a sports event, it’s a matter of pride and honour and Kabaddi is a sport with pride and honour enthralled in it throughout. So the National Anthem is the best way to kickstart the league. Kabaddi always made India proud but no one was aware of the achievements of Indian Kabaddi players. Thanks to Mashal Sports, Charu Sharma, Nitin Kukreja, Star India Team and all their initiatives that the sport and the players got global recognition. The day Kabaddi will find a spot in Olympics, my dreams will turn true.”

According to a source close to the development, Star India is said to have paid Bachchan approximately Rs 2.5 crore for the ‘Le Panga’ campaign. However, the source also informed that Bachchan did not charge for the National Anthem appearance.

The tournament also stretched its arm to shake hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign. In a silent support to the campaign last year, Star in one of its TVCs opposed throwing waste on the roads in a creative way. “This year, we are actively part of it. We decided to join the campaign and push it actively. We need a cleaner India, we need to stop throwing waste in the middle of the road. There are waste paper baskets to throw garbage and so we decided to talk about it more this year. We will talk about the campaign across every medium,” added Sharma.

The tournament’s last year record may emerge as the biggest challenge this year. If Pro Kabaddi League 2 fails to garner more than 435 million viewers, will it affect the brand value and pose a question mark over the sustainability? Terming last year’s record as a compliment rather than a challenge, Sharma said, “I don’t take it as a challenge. Last year the tournament was over before people got into it. This year, people are waiting for it so I expect it to grow bigger and better.”

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