What A Catch! – Suhail Chandhok

  We talk to Suhail on his profession and his very famous Periscopisodes!

Wedding bells are on the cards and this one might break a few hearts in the city! According to our sources, one of Chennai’s most likeable and sought after faces in sport and television, Suhail Chandhok, is all set to tie the knot with Trishya Screwvala, founder of The Lighthouse Project, an NGO that mentors children from under-resourced communities. The beautiful bride-to-be is also the daughter of entrepreneur and Bollywood icon, Ronnie Screwvala! The families are quite tight-lipped about the occasion but we hear that a small private ceremony has been planned for January 2017. Adorably, the two are said to have met at a Pro Kabaddi League match, hit it off instantly and were engaged within a few months. It’s every guy’s fantasy to find the girl of his dreams at a sports venue, right? Well done, Suhail! We have to say they make for a gorgeous couple and RITZ wishes them all the happiness in the world. Here, we talk to Suhail on his profession and his very famous Periscopisodes!                                                           

Periscope is an extremely new concept? Tell us a little bit about it.

It’s a great addition from Twitter that I followed globally and was waiting to kick off in India. Simply put, Periscope gives you the ability to “go Live” on your device anywhere and at anytime. It literally gives you the chance to be your own broadcasting network on the run, streaming video and audio to viewers who can join in from any part of the globe and interact live with you with questions or comments.

 What inspired you to start something like this?

Well, I’ve truly got a job I love and I’m blessed to meet some very interesting people along the way who honestly have incredible life stories or events going on in their lives. To me, it was an opportunity to catch them in an informal environment and get to know the real person behind who they are in the public eye. I was pleasantly surprised to know that “On The Ball with Suhail” is India’s first Periscope chat show and I’m glad the guys at Twitter India responded immediately when I went to them with the concept to do something different.

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 Tell us about your upcoming plans and guests for ‘On The Ball.’

I had inspirational entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala on my first Periscopisode (that’s what I like to call it) and his journey from entrepreneur, to film producer, to sport really fascinated me. The response was fantastic and I then had some really fun yet intriguing chats with Abhishek Bachchan, “The Complete Man” Gautam Singhania, Paris Dakar rider C S Santhosh, Olympian Viren Rasquinha and Bengaluru FC visionary Mustafa Ghouse. Each chat brought something special and unique to the table and they each had amazing stories to tell and really are inspirations to young India. Going ahead we’ve got some pretty interesting guests lined up from the world of golf, business, tennis, squash and even the involvement of some Olympians and Paralympians as well.

 Do you have any plans to go back to acting?

I never say never to things I’m passionate about and have always loved being versatile with what I do. The experience of working with Ajith, Director Siva, Santhanam and others was one I’ll never forget and the door to acting further, whether with theatre or on the big screen is one I don’t mind leaving open. It’s been a choc-a-bloc couple of years with Star Sports and it meant giving up on two opportunities in the Tamil industry while the ICC Cricket World Cup and Pro Kabaddi were on but as I always say, everything for a good reason!

 Interesting anecdotes from the Kabaddi League?

I still remember chatting with the players in Season 1 where they were adapting to the limelight and the major changes that come with it. They weren’t used to staying at star hotels. Most couldn’t sleep on the hotel beds beyond a night and slept comfortably on the floor with the air conditioners shut off as well. The human stories are wonderful and to see the game evolve and change lives for sportsmen in our country has been special.

 What is it like being the face and voice of a sport that is growing so rapidly?

I think having worked on the Olympics, the ICC Cricket World Cup, Hero ISL Football, Hockey India League and the Formula E racing series as well, the unique proposition of Pro Kabaddi is having been there from the start and watching India’s very own sport re-invent itself and to be part of the unexplainable growth and just an incredible journey. I’ve been fortunate to have been there from day one and through every opening and closing night and the energy, the fans, the humility of the sport itself are quite a sight and makes me feel blessed to do what I love and love what I do! The Kabaddi World Cup 2016 is kicking off now and it’s a sign that the game is getting more eyeballs around the world.

 Funniest response to a question you have got on the show?

There’s been a few honestly but I think I’ve always enjoyed a great rapport with Abhishek Bachchan who’s become a good friend over time. He’s just a really funny guy in real life and we had a request from a fan for both of us to do a Tamil film together and he just said, “Totally, let’s do it… I’ve always wanted to do a Tamil film so what say, Suhail?” Guess that could be my Tamil movie comeback… Haha!

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 Most interesting moment during On the Ball?

With such a diverse mix of guests you’re bound to get moments that just make you want to listen and I think it started on that note with Ronnie Screwvala when I asked him what the hell he was thinking with his journey from entrepreneurship to the top of the Bollywood to now taking on the sports world! Every guest on the show has been incredibly “real” with no facades and that quality keeps me engrossed and makes me want to dive into their mind a lot more. Pankaj Advani, a 15-time World Champion, was someone I vibed with instantly. He inspired me with his honest reaction to Snooker/Billiards not being an Olympic sport and not perhaps getting the recognition that it deserves quite often.

 What are the criteria you follow to select guests for the show?

I’ve wanted to go down a different route from the obvious icons of industry. As a former professional cricketer myself, I know that cricketers have their stories told a lot but there are unsung heroes like Indian Luge athlete Shiva Kesavan or Chennai’s own squash champ, Joshna Chinnappa whose stories need and warrant more of a voice and I do hope that On The Ball does more than just paint a pretty picture. I really do want to be able to draw inspiration out of these incredible success stories and give our young generation a strong reason to believe in a journey!

 The one guest you are waiting to get on the show?

At the moment we are bursting with talent in every field, as a country and it is an incredible time for both sportsmen and young entrepreneurs. The media often gives us one side of the story and getting guests to On The Ball gives us all an opportunity to hear things from the horse’s mouth. So I’d love to get the likes of Leander Paes, Pulella Gopichand and Prakash Padukone in the hot seat. Also, with so much interest in motorsport now I think it’s time to put my brother, Karun, on the spot and give sports fans an idea of just how tough it is to make it to the top in a sport that receives no solid support in a country of 1.2 billion people.

 You seem to be permanently re-inventing and doing different things every time we speak… What’s next for Suhail Chandhok?

I’ve always said, if you find a job you love, you’ll never have to really work a day of your life. Working with Star Sports has been a dream come true for me and the Kabaddi World Cup 2016 is what’s keeping me busy at the moment in Ahmedabad. There’s a lot of sport to follow straight after too but I love developing new content and with some amazing new platforms out there, the opportunities are endless if you’re willing to take a calculated risk or two; so I’m looking forward to some great new associations.

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 What keeps you busy when you’re not “On The Ball” with work? You’re quite the traveller, we understand…

I love new places, meeting interesting people and it’s amazing what’s out there when we get out and explore a little. I absolutely love the outdoors, a bit of adventure and photography as well.  I visited Bhutan recently and South Africa earlier this year and both places left me wanting a lot more in very different ways. The way of life and positivity in Bhutan is incredible and the feeling of being one with nature and wildlife in South Africa is something that makes me want to keep going back! Apart from travel, I’m an absolute food and sports nazi so I’m either trying to eat / cook something new and then play golf, tennis, cricket or hit my boxing sessions to try and balance it out!

 A little birdie tells us one of Chennai’ most eligible bachelors is off the market and there are wedding bells around the corner… Tell us more! 

Your little birdie is quite nosy (he smiles). I’m sadly not going to tell you too much more but, yes, it’s a blessing to find someone that makes you want to be better everyday and when it comes in the most unexpected manner, it’s extra special!