For some time now efforts have been on full swing to popularise Australian Football League (AFL) or Footy in India, and within the Australian Indian community.
Recently―thanks to large part to the interest shown by former ministerial adviser Mr Nitin Gupta―AFL Footy has reached billionaires, corporate houses and spiritual gurus too in India.
During his recent visit to India with business associate Darpan Mittal, he also gave AFL Footy Ball & Game Lessons to legends like industrialist-politician-sportsperson Naveen Jindal; guru Sri Sri Ravi Shanker of the Art of Living, yoga guru Swami Ramdev of the Patanjali Group and Ashith Kampani of Cosmic Mandala.
On earlier occasions Mr Gupta had arranged meetings with Indian windmill billionaire Tulsi Tanti and AFL senior management at the MCG; and also arranged for Indian actress-politician Khushboo Sundar to visit the Richmond Tigers FC.
“The AFL want to grow in India. For that to happen they would need to get broadcast slots on popular Indian TV channels. AFL needs to build relationships with big corporate houses, and with other popular and well known people in India from diverse fields and regions. I have just got the ball rolling from my end,” said Mr Gupta.
“I have always been involved with AFL but it used to be in a more limited way. It all began with my friend Kashif Bouns joining the AFL Multicultural Program. I used to work as multicultural adviser to the then Victorian Premier Hon. Ted Baillieu when Kashif started in his new role. I helped Kashif build a relationship with the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) and introduced him with few media and other people,” said Mr Gupta.
He added that later when the AFL Focus Group was formed, he recommended that Vinay Sharma of the Indian Executive Club and Rashi Kapoor of the Juniors IPLbe called in. “Both of them have been integral part of AFL Focus Group for nearly four or five years now, so they must be doing a great job over there. Rashi’s popularity on social media did help AFL a lot in terms of increasing the game’s popularity within the Australian Indian community,” said Mr Gupta.
AIBC Member and Line Producer Nithya Remesan said it was good to see Mr Gupta now being directly involved in promoting AFL. “Mr Gupta has amazing political and business contacts in India,” she said.
Mr Gupta also praised the hard working AFL staff like Mr Ali Fahour, Miss Natasha Pucella, Mr Kashif Bouns, Mr Sudip Chakraborty and various others for their hard work and dedication in promoting AFL in new communities and markets.
Mr Gupta further said that other people like Bhojpuri superstar Ravi Kishen, cloning scientist Dr Rajneesh Verma; Samajwadi politician Pankhuri Pathak; reality TV participant Priya Malik (Big Brother/Big Boss); and dance choreographer John Britto and various others have also agreed to help in promoting AFL in India. In fact, Mr Britto is working on choreographing a “footy dance” as well.