The first of the bland “New Year Greetings” that companies and public relations firms send out arrived in my inbox today, signalling the start of the season when most of the world goes on holiday. But if you are not going away on holiday, there’s the Pro Kabaddi league to look forward to—action-packed scraps and moves as teams return to play after a near-two-year break. Our cover story this week sets you up with everything you need to know even if it’s your first time on the kabaddi mat.
Kabbadi is a sport that has really transformed since the time most of us were children—it has gone from dusty school fields and barely-tarred streets to brightly-lit stadiums and screens, and this time, for its eighth season, to a convention centre in Bengaluru as players seek to stay within a bio-bubble. The money, of course, has shot into crores, with the league quickly becoming India’s second most watched sport. Over 74 days, starting 22 December, 12 teams—some with familiar old favourites, others with new players to watch out for—will try to seize the league title.
Speaking of big wins, one of Indian cricket’s most iconic moments—the 1983 World Cup—is set to find its way to theatres next week. I don’t have the foggiest memories of the 1983 World Cup win but have read and heard enough about it to understand why that tournament is the stuff of legend, why it is the perfect material for a film, and why a documentary is waiting to be made on the team that pulled it off. In an interview, director Kabir Khan, whose film on the 1983 World Cup is set for release, tells Lounge how he spent years recreating that June, the trepidation, the excitement and the victory that many younger people now know only from grainy YouTube videos and multiple podcasts. While it might be preferable—and truer to the reality of what happened—to watch a well-crafted documentary on that tournament, this seems like a film to look forward to. Like the forthcoming kabaddi season, it promises to tell a story that’s about more than just the sportspersons.
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