The ongoing Asia Cup and the Indian team’s performance in it may not be getting the attention it deserves, but a new comic book takes sports enthusiasts back to the golden age of hockey. Titled Shri Dhyan Chand, the graphic novel focuses on the legendary Indian player and captain, who won three Olympic gold medals and was known as ‘The Wizard’ for his superb ball control. The book launch on August 29 will also mark the legends 108th birth anniversary.
“There are so many heroes that kids today don’t know of. Through our biographical titles, we hope the younger generation gets to meet them. Currently, there is a lot of focus on cricket and little on our national sport (hockey),” says Reena Puri, editor, Amar Chitra Katha (ACK), while talking about the book which will be their first title in the sports category.
In terms of the storyline, the book does not start off in the usual manner, like how the hockey player was born and details of his parentage. The focus remains on the sport and the tale commences in 1922 when a young Dhyan Chand joined the army as a cadet. “There, Major Tiwari saw potential in him and started training him. It was then that his natural talent came to the fore,” says Puri. The story then goes on to trace his achievements in the game.
The research done for the book came from the hockey legend’s autobiography, Goal!, the Internet and meetings with his teammates. “Of course, we authenticated everything because we didn’t want to get the information wrong,” says Puri.
Ask her if the release of the book was timed to ride on the momentum of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’s success, considering that sprinter Milkha Singh also had a similar life, and Puri says, “We plan our titles a year in advance. This was a happy coincidence.” ACK plans to release more titles in the sports category. Puri says, “Sports produces dedicated legends. It is something the kids can learn from.”
Dhyan Chand, a prominent member of the victorious squads in the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics, is widely regarded as one of the greatest hockey players. He also captained the Indian team. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has recommended his name for the Bharat Ratna this year for his outstanding achievements in the field of sports.