Bhavin Kotwani during the ESL tournament Image: Bhavin Kotwani
Bhavin Kotwani, the newest poster-boy of Indian e-Sports is 19 years old and calls himself HellrangeR. He is the captain Team Entity that won the ESL India Premiership Winter LAN Finals on the sidelines of the Delhi Comic Con.
No one at the event was surprised. The team dominated the event from the start, first topping their group with two back-to-back victories, then beating Team Phoenix 2-0 in the best of three semifinals and finally besting 2ez 2-0 in the grand finale. The team pocketed about Rs 3.5 lakh for their vistory.
We caught up with Bhavin and asked him for some insider dope on the eSports scene.
How long have you been playing Counter Strike?
I started when I was 6 years old.
How much do you practise?
Eight hours a day, and 12 during tournaments.
Would you consider gaming as a full-time profession?
You can be a full-time gamer in India now, considering the increasing number of tournaments. Sponsors also back gamers.
If you were asked to write a letter to your 16/18-year-old self, what would you write?
I was never afraid to be myself. I would have written the same (things that I tell myself now) — be right or wrong, (but) stick to your decisions.Did streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube help you in your career?
I have not yet started streaming but the videos from other gamers help new gamers learn the game.
My brother used to play CS:1.6 and he introduced me to Counter Strike. Initially, I played for fun, then got hooked on to it.
What's your definition of fun?
I love the time we spend together as a team at the boot camp. Apart from that, I love travelling.
What are you proud of?
If I am actually changing the Indian gaming scene and influencing others, that is hot.
Pick your hottest star (From Bollywood, Hollywood, music, etc.)
Katrina (Kaif) from Bollywood and Scarlett Johansson from Hollywood.
Where do you want to see yourself in the next five years?
I would like my team to be at the top, and if I am no longer into gaming in the future, I want to become an entrepreneur.