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Know Shiva, frame by frame

other Updated: Aug 15, 2012 01:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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As he sledges past the speeding vehicles downhill in Manali - the tourist resort in Himachal Pradesh - the vacationers fear for his safety and sanity.

For the locals, though, it's a common sight. Whenever they see Shiva Keshavan speeding down the roads, they know another Olympics are round the corner and he has begun his preparations. Yes, you read it right! That's how he prepares for the Olympics, Winter Olympics that is.

It's this lack of awareness about the Winter Games, the anonymity India's lone flag-bearer lives in despite representing India four times in the Games and being the fastest Luge pilot in Asia, and the problems and hardships he faces while pursuing his passion that a short documentary titled 'An Unsung Shiva from the Himalayas' by senior sports writer Jasvinder Sidhu attempts to bring forth.

The film demonstrates his unique position as far as facilities and sporting infrastructure go. In other sporting disciplines, there is at least something to fall back on. Here, nothing.

PM to the rescue
That's, however, just a part of the problem. An equally big issue for him was ignorance about his sport, as the documentary highlights through an interesting anecdote.

About a decade back, while flying out for a competition, a certain airlines refused to check-in his sledge.

No amount or persuasion could convince the officials that it was sporting equipment.

Eventually, it was a call from the Prime Minister's Office - Keshavan had struck up an acquaintance with the then prime minister Atal Behari Vajyapee during the latter's visits to Manali - that allowed him to board the flight.

The film ends with the Olympian saying that things have changed in the last few years. And with him becoming the fastest Luge pilot in Asia, sponsors too have started showing interest.