Is Sahil Khattar football’s answer to cricket’s noodle strap, Mandira Bedi? Well, it seems so, for Sony, in an attempt to raise viewership for the ongoing football World Cup, has roped in the quirky, former, TV and digital anchor to host its Hindi pre and post match chat show, Football Extra. The title is also similar to Mandira Bedi’s Extra Innings (2003 Cricket World Cup)
“We are similar to the extent that both attempt to make the respective sport more entertaining. But here we ensure that the chat continues to revolve around serious football. I just make it lighter with my quirky one liners, which have become quite popular, e.g. Messi ne yeh game messy chod diya. One of the main reasons for the channel to choose me was my hosting of Pro Wrestling. Its numbers were even higher than the India vs South Africa cricket series which was going on at the same time.”
“However,” Sahil adds, “Football Extra is not all fun and games and entails lots of research. Although I am a hard-core soccer buff, there is a lot even I did not know, e.g. there was no World Cup during World War 2. I have eaten, slept and drank football since the last few days.”
Talking about The Beautiful Game, Sahil says, “Football is the most-watched popular sport in the world (estimated viewership of WC 2018 is 4 billion). I guess what takes it a notch above other disciplines is its cogent combination of adrenaline rush, perseverance and patience.”
Sahil, who is known for adult humour, courtesy YouTube show, Being Indian, says that, for him, keeping the viewer entertained is more important. “I can do it with any format.”
Here, he laments about the current stock of GEC hosts. “They are chosen just on looks and not on spontaneity, weaving a flow and language control. I agree I am not dapper, but I am the best host. No wonder I am anchoring both, sports events and GEC shows (Dance India Dance 6).
In closing, he thinks Brazil or France have the best chances on paper, to lift the trophy this year. “Having said that, Russian fields are full of upsets. Who would have thought that Argentina will get knocked out in the group stage itself.”
We wish him luck and success.