Life story

Inspirational story of Toronto Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia documented in new movie

Tonight (November 20), the second most famous Toronto Raptors fan, after Drake, of course, will be celebrated with a film screening in Vancouver.

That’s because Good Karma Studios and We The West Festival are hosting the world premiere of Superfan: The Story of Nav Bhatia at the Vancouver Playhouse.

Bhatia has attended every Raptors home game in its history. He also runs the Nav Bhatia Superfan Foundation, which builds basketball courts and camps for children in Canada and other countries.

The film features interviews with comedian Russell Peters, former NBA superstars Vince Carter and Isiah Thomas, and Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.

When the Law contacted Bhatia by phone in Toronto earlier this week, he revealed he had yet to see the movie.

“People tell me it’s a great movie,” Bhatia said. “They come out crying. So there must be something good and emotional about the movie.”

Her life story is certainly enough to stir your heart.

His parents moved away from what is now Pakistan during the horrors of the partition of the Indian subcontinent by Britain in 1947.

More than a million people were killed in community violence in the run-up to this event, according to Jacob Bercovitch and Richard Jackson International Conflict: A Chronological Encyclopedia of Conflicts and Their Management 1945-1995.

Bhatia’s father was from Lahore and her mother from Sialkot.

“I remember she said she came on a train with people loaded on the roof,” Bhatia said. “She had a baby and was expecting another. And she saw the murder. You know, people would come and kill with swords. It was horrible.”

After settling in Delhi, the family worked extremely hard and built a thriving business. But communal violence erupted into fury again in November 1984 in genocidal attacks on Sikhs following the assassination of then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

She was killed by two Sikh bodyguards four months after ordering an Indian army attack on the holiest Sikh shrine in Amritsar, Punjab.

The massacres of Sikhs in many towns were organized by senior Congress Party officials.

“My dad barely made it,” Bhatia said. “They were going to set a tire on fire.”

The business and his family’s home were burnt down. He described it as his family’s “second score”. He was then 33 years old.

“Nothing was safe either at home or even in our gurdwaras,” Bhatia recalls. “After that, we wanted, as a family, to leave India. My wife and I were the first to come to Canada, this beautiful country.”

The Nav Bhatia Foundation raises funds through the sale of products like this to support basketball programs and camps in different countries.

Succeed through hard work

Life was tough at first. They moved into a basement suite in Malton, Ontario. According to Bhatia, the rent was $ 340 per month and he was initially unemployed, even though he was a mechanical engineer trained in India.

“I did housekeeping, janitorial, landscaping, and then I got into the automotive business as a salesperson,” he said.

But then he encountered what he described as another “speed bump” in life.

Co-workers used racial slurs, such as “Paki” and “napkin”, to describe him. He found it strange that he was called “Paki” when he came from India, not Pakistan.

“I decided I had to work more than hard to be successful in this environment,” Bhatia said. “With the grace of God and hard work, I became the best seller in the country selling 127 cars in three months which was a record and still is a record.”

He worked his way up the chain, becoming manager, general manager, dealership manager and eventually became the owner of five dealerships.

“I think for the first 20 years I worked almost 100 hours a week,” Bhatia said.

Toronto Raptors Biggest Fan Video Is As Famous As The Players: How Nav Bhatia Became SUPERFAN

Video: watch the trailer for Superfan: The Story of Nav Bhatia.

CBC to air a movie on December 3

Today, he gives back to the community through his foundation. In 2019, when the team won its first NBA Championship, he was the Parade Grand Marshal and received a championship ring from the hands of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment President Larry Tanenbaum.

This year, Bhatia became the first fan to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Bhatia insisted he was “not a political person in any way”, but admitted that he was on the side of Indian farmers who had been protesting for a year in his hometown of Delhi before. to achieve a resounding victory over the government.

“I just want to bring people together with basketball,” Bhatia said. “This is what I am doing.”

The film will air on CBC and CBC Gem on December 3.

At the age of 16, Bhatia promised her mother that he would not cut her hair in order to respect Sikh traditions. He also pledged not to drink alcohol or smoke.

While it hasn’t always been an easy road in life, he has kept his promises.

He is proud of the example he sets for young Sikhs when they see him in his turban having so much fun cheering on the Raptors. He heard young people tell him that if he can do this, they can do it too.

Bhatia visits Metro Vancouver once or twice a year. This prompted the Law to ask him which city has the best Indian food: Surrey or Toronto.

In a truly diplomatic way, he replied that the best Indian food is his wife’s cooking.

But he also admitted to enjoying the dinners he had at Tasty Indian Bistro in Surrey and downtown Vancouver.

“They have amazing food,” Bhatia said with a laugh.


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