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August - September 2009


Lifestyle

Relive the miracle!

by Kanika Tandon


India can’t forget the year 1983. Nor can it forget the Lord’s cricket ground. And we don’t need to mention why. The picture of Kapil Dev with the World Cup in his hands is etched deep in the memory of every Indian with even an iota of interest in cricket. Yes, it happened at Lord’s, and it was unforgettable! Historic!


Srenik Sett with his wife Sujata, Nehru Centre’s Head Monica Kapil Mohta and veteran crickters, Kris Srikant and Ajit Wadekar

But very few would remember that there was one man who was leaving no stone unturned to capture these extraordinary moments of Indian brilliance through his camera, making them eternal for the posterity. Srenik Sett, the author-cum-photographer of the book Miracle At Lord’s, resurrects memories of the 1983 World Cup frame by frame for you. The result is a book which is rich with carefully selected rare black and white photographs of the Indian team right from the beginning of the series till the end.

Sett’s book steps into history and recreates for the reader, the mood that prevailed in the dressing rooms and on field. The black and white pictures evoke nostalgia and the accompanying narrative of Sett makes you feel as if you are part of the crowd, witnessing history in the making one more time. But the narrative has not been well-coordinated with the placement of the pictures and confuses the reader. Ideally, it should have been placed either at the beginning of the book or at the end of it. Sett’s camera acquaints you with the glory, the pain, the fears, the tension and the “Kodak moments” of the players. The collection of pictures depicting Kapil Dev’s 175 not out score at Trent Bridge and the post-victory celebrations are photographs you won’t find easily anywhere else.

Sett has handpicked some of the finest pictures of each of the 16 players representing the Indian squad in the “battle” of 1983. So the reader gets to feast his eyes on Sunil Gavaskar captured in a contemplative mood; Kapil Dev striking terror on field; Sandeep Patil signing autographs and a young Ravi Shastri listening attentively to captain Dev. There is also a section devoted to the “rivals” from West Indies. However, even though the pictures are rare and excellent, the presentation is somewhat clumsy. A lot of pictures (because they have been spread to two pages) have been marred by the centre-fold of the book. The book was done in a record time of 21 days and it does smell of a job done in a hurry. It is sprinkled with typing errors which can put you off––sometimes as annoying as coming across the word “buy” instead of “by”. It could have been better, but it’s still got its allure.

In the end, it is a book tastefully told, studded with rare gems of black and white photographs, successfully depicting the passion for the game. The book hooks you and invites you to become a part of the miracle that happened at Lord’s. Till the history isn’t repeated by the younger lads of Team India, we can cherish the memories of the 1983 victory as served by this book. A ‘must’ for the aficionados of Indian cricket.

MEET THE AUTHOR


Srenik Sett with his wife Sujata

Q. How has the book been received?
A. It has met with tremendous enthusiasm from readers in India as well as in the UK. Within a few days, we managed to sell 50 per cent of the copies. Since it is a limited edition with only 1000 copies in circulation in the UK, it is a much sought after book. I would, however, like to add that the proceeds of the earnings will go to the charity AllSport Foundation, which works for the cause of underpriviledge children.

Q. Was the book release planned to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the 1983 victory?
A. It wasn’t planned or intentional to release it on the 25th anniversary of the 1983 victory. is still the biggest achievement of the Indian cricket team till date to have won the World Cup. Nobody believed that we will make it. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the event, I decided to go ahead and reproduce these photographs.

Q. What about the compliments you have received so far on the book?
A. Sharad Pawar liked the book so much that he called it “the only historical document” available to commemorate the 1983 victory. Nobody in these 25 years had the imagination to do it. Kapil Dev personally bought 15-20 copies of the book to gift to his family and friends.

Q. How has the game changed in the last three decades?
A. Cricket was a passion earlier, now it is a religion. It has evloved in technique and format. The new T-20 form of cricket may not be the favourite amongst the puritans, but it will catch on big time. Today, you can expect cricket to give you quick entertainment in three hours, just like movies. And, of course, there is a lot of money in it now.
With the advent of TV and live cricket being telecasted everywhere, money has been pouring in from every direction to promote the game. In 1983, the cricket board did not have money to reward the winning team, so Lata Mangeshkar was invited to do a concert to raise the money. Today, crickters earn as much as a filmstar.
(Srenik Sett spoke to Kanika Tandon)

Miracle at Lord’s By Srenik Sett
Price: £20

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