At a time when Netflix is converting books into web series (Netflix), Epic channel is trying the other way around. This niche channel has entered into a deal with Rupa Publications for converting three of their well-known series i.e. Umeed India, Sharanam and Dharmakshetra into books.
The book ‘Umeed India with Virender Sehwag’ chronicles 13 gripping stories of Indian athletes who have worked hard to bring glory and honour to the nation. Through anecdotes and gut-wrenching real stories, the book takes readers on a journey of inspiration and courage.
The book features wrestler Vinesh Phogat, shot-put player Om Prakash Singh Karhana, Judoka Avtar Singh, freestyle wrestler and Olympic medallist Sakshi Mallik, sprinter Dutee Chand, rower Dattu Bhokanal, six-time Olympian and the first Indian to compete in Luge at the Winter Olympic Games Shiva Keshavan, Paralympian swimmer Suyash Jadhav, para-badminton champion Sanjeev Kumar, shooter Ayonika Paul, javelin thrower Annu Rani, badminton player Sai Praneeth and boxer Shiva Thapa.
The press conference saw Viru talking to 2 of the above sportspersons. One was a para athlete (wheelchair badminton) Sanjeev Kumar, and the second was shot putter OP Karhana, who was laid low by injury.
Viru said, “It is quite sad that Olympic sports disciplines do not get enough support like cricket.”
“The stories of many were so moving that we actually had to edit out portions where they completely broke down or got very emotional, as we did not want them to be misinterpreted.”
Sanjeev Kumar recounted his journey of how tough it was for him to play without a proper wheelchair. “Despite my best efforts, I could not go beyond bronze as my wheelchair was too heavy (20/25 kilos), restricting mobility.”
“Later Viru stepped in and helped me get a lightweight sports wheelchair, and lo and behold, I have now won 4 golds and hope to win more at the Tokyo Olympic Games as well,” added Sanjeev.
O P Karhana talked about how difficult it was for him to bounce back from injury. “But I could pull it off courtesy my coach”. Here Viru admitted that cricketers don’t give enough respect to their coaches.
“The biggest point is there is a lot of talent in every Indian village, which just needs the support of the system. This change is happening but it will not happen in a hurry,” added O P.
Viru says that he would like to help other sports persons as well. “But they will need to approach him via their respective federations.”
Akul Tripathi, Head – Content & Programming, EPIC Channel, said, “The best thing about this show being made into a book is that they will now get a wider reach. Books transcend restrictions of satellite TV (show are not always on air). Revenue wise as well, there is a royalty mechanism in place.”
“We are planning a season 2 as well, and are in the process of selecting more appropriate athletes,” added he.
“Kapish Mehra, Managing Director, Rupa Publications, said, “The best advantage of having a TV show made into a book is that there is already an awareness of the product, making our job easier.”
If Umeed India portrays the emergent, confident India, the second book ‘Sharanam with Juhi Chawla’ explores its spiritual diversity and heritage. The book is a journey through the various facets of religious practices, traditions and places of worship in India. Visiting prominent pilgrimage spots from every corner of the country, the book tells the stories of the places through the eyes and experiences of the pilgrims who repose their faith in these deities. Along with popular pilgrimage sites like Nizammudin Dargah, Velankani Church and the Golden Temple, the book also covers the remote Hemis monastery, the Kamakhya temple and other lesser known but powerful and vibrant pilgrimage sites.
The third book ‘Dharmakshetra – The Great Trial after Kurukshetra’, is a thrilling courtroom drama that examines the events of the Mahabharata. In a post-apocalyptic trial, held in Maharaj Chitragupta’s court, the vanquished ‘Kauravas’, are allowed to accuse the victors, ‘Pandavas’, and ask to justify their actions. Upon hearing all the arguments made by the prosecution and the defence, Chitragupta must deliver his final verdict. Dharmakshetra: The Great Trial after Kurukshetra is a gripping, never attempted before narrative that examines the events of the Mahabharata in a fresh perspective.
In a bid to make the atmosphere light, Viru joked a lot about money. He also took a dig at himself, saying that he once travelled thousands of miles to England to play a test match and got out on a duck.