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Kerala businessman Boby Chemmanur to build museum for Maradona
Kochi, December 7, 2020
Well-known Kerala businessman and philanthropist Boby Chemmanur, who has been associated with legendary Argentian forward Diego Maradona, today announced his plans to set up a world-class musuem in memory of the footballer, who died last month.
A life-size gold sculpture of the football legend will be the main attraction of the museum, Chemmanur, 58, who is the owner of a well-known jewellery company, said at a press conference here.
The sculpture will represent "The Hand of God", as the Argentinian forward described a crucial goal he scored in the 1986 FIFA World Cup which his team went on to win.
The proposed museum is to come up in Kolkata or south India. It will showcase Maradona’s professional and personal life, according to Boby, who is Chairman and Managing Director of Boby Chemmanur International Group. The museum will blend the aesthetics of art and technology, he said.
The museum will come up in a plot of several acres of land, Chemmanur, who was instrumental in bringing the soccer star on a visit to Kerala eight years ago.
Recalling his “close friendship” with Maradona for a decade, Chemmanur said the relation began with the footballer at Dubai in 2011. Later Maradona inaugurated a Chemmanur jewellery showroom in Dubai.
“I gifted Maradona a miniature gold statue of his figure. Accepting it, the soccer star expressed the desire to see his life-size gold sculpture related to ‘The Hand of God’,” Boby added.
“I am extremely happy to be fulfilling that desire of Maradona,” said Chemmanur, also a social worker and martial artiste. "The Hand of God" goal was scored against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 Cup.
The 157-year-old Boby Chemmanur Group, headquartered in Thrissur with 50-plus outlets across the globe, had Maradona as its ambassador after the Argentinian signed the deal in March 2018. Hailed as one of the game’s all-time greats, he captained Argentina, which lifted the 1986 World Cup in Mexico City on June 29, beating West Germany 3-2 in the final.
Maradona was in the northern part of the state for two days in October 2012 to inaugurate a showroom of Chemmannur Jewellers in Kannur.
“The museum is my tribute to Maradona. It will be a storehouse of information related to the great player and his football. It will function as a centre for entertainment of international standards,” said Chemmanur.
The curator of the museum will be artist-writer Bony Thomas, a founder-trustee of Kochi Biennale Foundation that conducts India’s biggest contemporary art festival.
“Maradona has always been a wonder to me — as a footballer with no parallels and as a friend with immense warmth,” said the entrepreneur, whose advertisement tagline ‘Maradona & Boby’ has been a big hit. Describing the footballer as “a sensitive and honest person”, Chemmanur said Maradona was “short-tempered” because he was “emotional”.
The Chemmanur Group, founded in 1863 in Varandarappilly which is 25 km southeast of Thrissur city, has branches across India besides in the Gulf and East Asia.
Maradona, 60, died in his Buenos Aires home on November 24 following a heart attack, 12 days after undergoing a brain surgery.