Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai is undoubtedly among the best comedy shows ever shown on Indian television. Its a quirky and refreshing take on both the 'middle class' and the 'uptown folks', in the Yes Minister style of comedy to a fair bit.It's great that we finally have the official set of DVDs - is definitely a must have!
The only grouse I have with this set is that it does not have ALL 70 episodes - only 50 (5 per dvd). Quite a few episodes are missing, for instance, Rosesh's Poetry Book Publication, Baldev and Swaroopa's dog Deepender, Maya falls in love, and some more episodes. Can't figure out why they left out the remaining 20 episodes from the dvd set - this is what takes away the one star, otherwise it was 5 stars all the way for me.
First off, those familiar with William Dalrymple's earlier works, notably 'White Mughals' and 'The Last Mughal' will not be disappointed with 'Return of a King'. The book contains what most of his readers will have now come to expect from a Dalrymple book - (1) meticulous research, (2) characters whose virtues and vices are duly brought out, (3) anecdotes (all stemming from his extensive research) , and (4) a style of story telling which ties in his research and the characters beautifully.
To those interested in this genre, but who have not yet read Dalrymple's work, I strongly recommend you to buy this book, as well as 'The Last Mughal'. You will find them most enjoyable.
While the story takes up about 500 pages of the book, it should be able to keep readers engrossed (I finished reading my copy in 3 days). The pace picks up at key moments and slows down whenever the story demands. As reported in various media, the book will draw parallels to the current occupation of Afghanistan, and viewers will not fail to see why.
All in all, William Dalrymple's 'Return of a King' is a good read and is highly recommended.
If one ever were to think of India's equivalent to Kim Hughes, in terms of talent - both, realised and unfulfilled - the Bombay cavalier Sandeep Patil comes closest. Even their international Test and ODI averages are eerily similar - ~37 in Tests and ~24 in ODIs. However, even Patil's career looks more plain jane and uneventful when compared to that of Hughes.
Frankly, I had come across Hughes' name only fleetingly - during reruns of India's sporadic victories down under, and maybe some old Ashes recaps on ESPN or Star Cricket. But for a country obsessed with statistics (as a recent ad for a leading 4 wheeler brand would suggest), there is almost nothing interesting about someone who plays over 50 tests and averages less than 40. Just an average player for his time.
What did instigate some interest was the fact that HE was the Aussie captain during Botham's Ashes in 81. Crucially, there was an article towards the end of 2011 on Cricinfo that talked about 2 Aussie legends, Rod March and Dennis Lillee, who never quite supported him when he was captain - this was something one never associates with the 'greats'of the sport. Add Christian Ryan - whose articles on Cricinfo are thoroughly enjoyable - as the author, and I was intrigued enough to buy this book, which offered a detailed look into the Hughes vs. Marsh & Lillee story. Very few can resist the temptation of overlooking a good scandal.
What readers will enjoy is the third party view points that Ryan brings to this story. That this is an unauthorised biography, meaning Hughes himself has abstained from giving his views, as well as the fact that Lillee, Marsh and Chappell have declined to comment, only means that by and large, no biases creep into this story - sometimes a common pitfall of biographies.
What this does achieve is bring in a balance of perspectives in how we look at each individual player. No one player is overtly praised or criticsed, their strengths and follies duly brought out. For instance, Hughes' ability as a natural strokemaker and penchant for mesmerising innings is brought out as much as his failing in reining his natural instinct or handling certain situations more 'delicately'.
Readers will also note the similarity in anecdotes about back door politiking in Australian cricket to stories that we may have heard about in Indian Cricket.
On the other hand, readers should expect some loose ends that leave a part of the story to the readers' imagination - another pitfall of unaothorised bigraphies. But this in itself is a minor glitch. After all, even if one of the more accomplished Indian writers like Menon or Ezekiel attempt to tell the tale of Indian cricket during the 80s, a decade that perhaps saw India's best teams take to the field in the 20th century, that pitted Gavaskar and Kapil Dev against each other over India's captaincy, it is highly improbable that Gavaskar and Kapil would themselves contribute heavily to the stories.
All in all, Golden Boy is definitely a must buy for cricket enthusiasts.