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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

Olympics gone desi

Soumya Mukerji, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 21, 2012
First Published: 19:21 IST(21/7/2012) | Last Updated: 19:21 IST(21/7/2012)
Bhiwani Junction: The untold story of boxing in India

Author: Shamya Dasgupta

Price: R250

The Ultimate Olympic Quiz Book

Author: Suvam Pal

Price: R199

Both published by Harper Sport

Here come the big games. And the whole hoopla bandwagon with it. Sports journalists putting on their best caps to vomit all that they know, spilling the beans, going where the tracks don’t.

Two here, in India. One does it well, one not so much. Evident, for Shamya Dasgupta’s Bhiwani Junction, which brings boxing to book with all its loopholes in India, is all set for a movie adaptation by filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia, while Suvam Pal’s Ultimate Olympic Quiz Book doesn’t quite click with the quizzie in you.

Bhiwani... is an intense first person narrative of travelling through the bottlenecks in the road that takes you to the heartland of the sport that birthed heroes such as Vijender Singh and Akhil Kumar. It takes you right into the insides of the sport and its story through the English Raj, the fertile grounds of Calcutta and Patiala to the forgotten frontier, Manipur, all while exposing the pain and politics that hide behind the medal-smiles these young men sport.

Pal’s quiz book, on the other hand, has a section on every Olympic chapter in history, with the ‘where was this’ and ‘who was this’ questions. Sometimes, they’re too long and wordy, and the trivia, barring a few like the one that tells you how a Pakistani swimmer once forgot to wear his swimsuit under the gown, aren’t too interesting. No dirty secrets, eye-popping stuff, even let-me-tell-friends facts to boast about. While the former asks a lot of important questions, the latter answers all that you’d have never asked.

So, Bhiwani is a pick-up for all curious minds. The quiz, only for sport school libraries.


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