Archive for the ‘Sports – India’ Category

Filmi Jagat: A Scrapbook
Ed. by Kaushik Bhaumik, Debashree Mukherjee & Rahab Allana | Art Heritage/Niyogi Books | Rs 995

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 6.15.58 PMWhat do you do when you find a cinema lover’s scrapbook from the Early Talkies days? For Rahab Allana, a curator with Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, the answer came in the form a book that not only features pages from the scrapbook but also tries – with the help of insightful essays – to decode how images in 1930-40s were consumed. This kind of reading opens doors to many ways of understanding our past. Basically, seven films made between 1938-42 find their mention here – Jawani Ki Hawa, Duniya Kya Hai?, Apni Nagaria, Naya Sansar, Behen, Jhoola and Kunwara Baap. Great to leaf through, except it would have been more fun had the publishers recreated the scrapbook as it was with its pockets and slide-outs.


Natural Kingdoms
Dr Rajan Sankaran | Penguin | Rs 299

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 6.16.10 PMEven though the scientific community across the world has debunked homeopathy as – ‘a product that is no better than a placebo’ – this form of treatment is very popular in our part of the world. Homeopathy doctors in India can be found in big cities, small towns and even in villages. Dr Rajan Sankaran, a Mumbai-based homeopath is one of them. He claims to have evolved a ‘sensation method’ of homeopathic treatment. Does it work? Science has made its opinion known. India is yet to debate the subject seriously.

Mid-Wicket Tales: From Trumper to Tendulkar
S. Giridhar & V.J. Raghunath | Sage | Rs 525

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 6.16.23 PMThere are books on cricketers and there are books that discuss cricket. Each has its special place in our hearts. This book falls in the latter category. The authors are cricket fans who have contributed articles to the ESPN-owned website, Cricinfo, since 2008. This book contains 27 of their essays that detail and discuss every aspect of the game. Though the 20-20 game is mentioned and analyzed, it is the test format that is the favourite. “If cricket is to survive then test cricket must thrive,” Venkat tells the authors. We agree.


(The above reviews appeared in Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 26 October 2014.)

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Olympics: The India Story
Boria Majumdar & Nalin Mehta | Harper Sport | Rs 499

“If India fails to take advantage of the fertile condition created by Beijing and its aftermath, its lasting legacy will have been confined to sports history books by the end of London 2012,” say the authors in this revised and updated paperback edition on India’s historical tryst with Olympics. This warning may sound ominous, but don’t lose heart, in a chapter especially added for 2012 London Games titled “Will the turnaround finally happen?” the authors also predict that India can for the first time realistically expect 7 medals at the Games. This book was first published in 2008 in the run up to Beijing Games.

(The above review appeared in the Saturday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi dated 28 July 2012)

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Nirupama Subramanian | Harper Collins | Rs 250

There was a time when Indians working in the US did not dream of returning home. That is not true anymore. At least not of the engineers and techies that are returning in droves and setting up shop in Bangalore and Gurgaon. Why this shift? Subramanian offers no insights. Instead she uses both these places as a backdrop to spin a story on an extra marital affair between a CEO of a start-up company and a Punjabi beauty. Life is so difficult, she moans, when her maid runs away with a driver. If only the garbage, the poverty, the potholes and the pigs would disappear…


The Columbus Affair
Steve Berry | Hodder | Rs 395

“For 500 years historians have pondered the question: Who was Christopher Columbus? The answer is simply another question: Who do you want him to be?” This is how Steve Berry, the bestselling author of The Jefferson Key, introduces us to his version of Columbus. Combining legends, facts and creative fiction, Berry takes the reader on a thrilling adventure that spans Europe, America, Jamaica and South America to reconstruct the story of the Spaniard that has captured the imagination of several generations of conspiracy theorists. You may buy his story, or you may not. The thrill is in how you read it.


Sachin: A Hundred Hundreds Now
V Krishnaswamy | Harper Sport | Rs 250

On 16 March 2012 at Mirpur in Dhaka (Bangladesh) after opening the innings for India, Sachin nudged the ball to behind the square leg in the 44th over to cross the final barrier: a hundred centuries in international cricket. In this account of the master batsman’s incredible journey, sportswriter V Krishnaswamy takes us through every hundred, every peak scaled on Sachin’s way to the top.  Along the way he also looks at two other sportsmen, Viswanathan Anand and Leander Paes, to understand the sporting world in which Sachin flourished. The book includes introduction by Rahul Dravid and Sachin’s coach Ramakant Achrekar.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 17 June 2012)

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History of Indian Football
Nirmal Nath| Readers Service| 444 pp, Rs 995

Every major sport in India deserves its Boria Majumdar. But there are no takers. Not among writers, sportsmen or fans capable of reconstructing the story. Nor among book editors. Sad, considering the amount of newsprint that is devoted to sports pages in our newspapers and magazines. Nath appoints himself to put together the story of the most short-changed game on the continent – football. He interviews the players, administrators, coaches and collects articles and souvenir books. He dips into regional histories of clubs and teams. He lays out the draft. And that’s it. A good editor could have produced a goal-winning header out of this. Instead we are left with a deflated ball. If we had a sports editor in the book publishing industry, the story could have played out differently.


Corporate Divas
Sonia Golani| Portfolio Penguin| 229 pp, Rs 250

Corporate Divas is a work that appears to exist for reasons other than describing to us the life and times of India’s top-notch female corporate leaders. For one, Golani’s effort lacks writer’s toil, rigour and inquisitiveness. Two, her ethical and moral universe is as appealing as Coca Cola. Three, the focus seems to be to network not discover the women she interviews. The end result is a biscuit and tea boardroom resumes. Not very different from the one’s you’ll find in gushing women’s magazines. Included in the book, in Hallmark card tradition, are memorable quotes at the end of each chapter. A sample: “Hard work has no substitute. Nothing is handed over in a platter to you.”


James Steel| Avon – HarperCollins| 457 pp, Rs 299

According to publishers, Warlord is ‘an utterly gripping’ thriller that will remind readers of Fredrick Forsyth and Jack Higgins books. The book comes with content disclaimers bar-marked on the back cover that spells: terror, thrills, drama, law and order and conspiracy. There is rape too, but that’s not mentioned. The genesis of the book lies in the ongoing ethnic war in Democratic Republic of Congo and emergence of China as the largest land grabber in this part of the African continent. “In many ways the biggest clash of civilizations at the moment is not between West and Islam” but between West’s capitalism and China’s communist managed capitalism, says the writer. It’s a racy read. Well-researched.

(An edited version of the above reviews appeared in the Sunday edition of the Mail Today, New Delhi, dated 20 November 2011)

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