Indian Basketball Fans organised an exclusive chat with national award winner Bollywood actress and producer Neetu Chandra. Neetu has featured in box office hit films like Garam Masala, Traffic signal, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! to name a few but very few know that she has also been a national level basketball player and 4-Dan black belt in Taekwondo.
Neetu recently attended a webinar that was organized by Integrated Basketball Players (IBPA) and Indian Basketball fans where she interacted with many basketball players. Praising the initiative the actress turned producer praised IBPA and Indian Basketball Fans for putting in effort to promote Basketball in the country.
In an exclusive chat with Lakshmi Kant Tiwari, founder of Indian Basketball Fans, Neetu said, “I still love to play Basketball. I continue to play it may be not professionally but the love for the sport is still there. Once a basketball player always a basketball player.”
Answering to a question as to how difficult it was to played basketball in Bihar during her time she said, “Bihar did not have a superb infrastructure for sports especially basketball during my time, but, where there is a will there is way. I belive hardship helps in creating the fighter in you. If the time and tide are not in your favour that is the best time to build character and that is what has made my character. Even though there were limited facilities, I managed to play basketball at the highest level and not only that I also am a 4-Dan black belt in Taekwondo. So I have played the individual and team sport and both of them have helped me shape my character.”
Neetu also pointed out that the role of parents is also very important in a sportspersons life. “I would request all parents to allow their kids to take up at least one team game and also martial arts if possible because sports help you learn the importance of winning. It helps you with team work and many things that will help shape you inside out in life. I love winning and this winning spirit is because of basketball.”
When quizzed why she did not try to play professional basketball Neetu said, “I never thought of playing professional basketball as there was no facility, no coaches and no one to guide us therefore, I guess I could never think of taking up the sport professionally.” Neetu also said that ill treatment of players also pushed her away from the game. “When I was young I used to follow PT Usha a lot. She was a celebrity back then and when the news of her being offered a clerks post in railways came to me I was shattered and may be that was the time I thought there was no future in sports. Treating a legend like PT Usha in such regard will never have a positive impact on upcoming sportspersons not back then and not today.”
Neetu Chandra (Source: India Times)
“Things have changed a lot today, players are getting recognition but still cricketers get far more attention and a game like basketball lacks it, which needs to change.” she added.
Neetu also threw some light on the role of Bihar government in promoting sports, “Bihar government hardly did anything to promote sports in the state when we were playing. There were hardly any facilities for sports like basketball, volleyball. Things may have changed today but still a lot needs to be done especially for Basketball.”
Neetu who is also associated with NBA said, “I am associated with NBA but i feel ashamed because in my home state Bihar NBA has no presence. I have urged NBA to start something in Bihar and hopefully they will be doing it soon.”
Neetu Chandra is also the first producer from Bihar to win a national award. Neetu has her own production house named Champaran Talkies and won a he National Award for the film Mithila Makhaan. The national award-winning film was directed by her brother Nitin Chandra.
When asked if she wished to make movies on Basketball she said, “I have big plans to make movies related to sport. Sport has always helped me in my ups and downs and I believe it plays an important role in everyone’s life. I want to create movies related to sports and I can say that I will soon come up with a movie like this.”
Neetu also remembered late Basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who recently lost his life in a helicopter crash. “Being a basketball player and fan i always followed Kobe. He was a legend and the news of his death did shatter me.”
Finally Neetu praised IBPA and Indian Basketball Fans for this initiative of trying to promote Basketball in the country and said, “I am really impressed with Indian basketball Fans and IBPA for whatever they are doing to promote basketball. I also assure Indian Basketball Fans that they will have my continued support in whatever they do to promote the sports.”