Badminton coach and enthusiast SPS Chawla on the Commonwealth Games, which he says is one of the biggest platforms for players to perform and win
Actor, sales consultant, multicultural community ambassador, social worker, and badminton coach… ever since he migrated to Australia in 2013 SPS Chawla has had an action-packed life. While his movies have won him accolades, Chawla is at the moment in badminton mode, with the ongoing Commonwealth Games being his sole focus of attention.
At the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Chawla says he has high hopes from Indian players like PV Sindhu. “But good wishes to Renuga Veeran as well, who is representing Australia in badminton and to Rupinder Kaur representing Australia in wrestling,” he adds.
“This is one of the biggest platforms for the players to perform and win,” he says, adding that he will be attending the Badminton Quarterfinals from 13 April till the finals. “There are 225 athletes from India; I would like to meet some of them at least,” says Chawla, who participated in the 31st Sikh Games Australia 2018 in Sydney and won the Veteran Single’s and Veteran Double’s Badminton Championship as well as the Dastaar (turban) competition too.
“Players came from around the world New Zealand, Malaysia, Canada and all over Australia, so it was a tough but exciting championship,” he says.
In 2017, Chawla got accredited as a badminton coach through Badminton Victoria and adopted four youngsters to train. He also runs the Landmark Community Sports Club (LCSC) where, he says, “everyone is welcome to play and train”.
“In some sports you do have the opportunity to make some money but most don’t make enough to live on. Badminton is not that popular as compared to Footy (AFL) or Cricket. The sponsorships are not that great and that also becomes a reason for the funding,” says Chawla, adding that it is the reason he and a few other badminton enthusiasts got together to open LCSC in Craigieburn, Melbourne. “The club was started with 7 members but that has grown to 50,” says Chawla, adding he has coached “Casminton”, an initiative trough Badminton Victoria for coaching new talent and players from all ages.
On the movie front, Chawla made his debut in 2016 in the film The Strings (Sandeep Raj Production), and then got approached by Gurmeet Saran (Red Hill Production) to play a father in the feature film The Hidden Truth.
Before he knew it, the sales consultant and customer service volunteer at Melbourne Airport had become an established actor. “I worked in the Punjabi feature film Big Daddy that was released worldwide,” says Chawla, clearly enjoying his life in the spotlight. “It takes a lot of hard work to crack your first job. But then slowly things get settled with time, experience, friends and through the help of the community,” he says.
Chawla, who is also the AFL Multicultural Community Ambassador, has since gone on to win best actor for the short film Haloona at the Punjabi Film Festival (Virasat) in Melbourne and awards for three movies—Karma, Nischay Kar Apni Jeet Karo and Sikhi Meri Jaan—at the Sikh International Festival.
And he still finds time to work with several social organisations such as Ramon Helps Inc, GOPIO, One World Family, and No Hunger, as well as train badminton players.
Chawla now has several movies in the pipeline—the Punjabi film Roop with Red Hill Production; Foreign Flame with Jagga Creation, which will be released in three languages worldwide; and Aka Manah’s Web with Poras Beniwal and Karan Battan.
But first, it’s time to watch India ace it on court.