Prakash Padukone

Prakash Padukone

I have mentioned somewhere in this blog that the Metro Newspaper, distributed free every morning in London and other major cities, is a firm favourite of mine. Belonging to the Daily Mail group, it is well laid out and professionally edited. Though printed only on weekdays, the paper’s area of interest is fairly wide and covers international news reasonably. The sickening puns seen on captions, used widely by popular working man’s dailies, are conspicuously absent, making it a pleasant and no nonsense read. For its substance and neat looks, I generously overlook the odd page or so dedicated to the Hiltons, Allens, Winehouses and other social curiosities.


The cover of Metro dated 13/01/09 carried a picture of Deepika Padukone, the Indian actress, pin-up girl and model, not necessarily in that order. Along with Akshay Kumar, the Indian actor, martial arts expert and self confessed Punjabi cook, the lady had graced Leicester Square to promote the Hollywood-Bollywood production ‘Chandni Chowk to China’.




Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone

What was missed in the accompanying report was that Deepika is the daughter of Prakash Padukone, the charming and handsome badminton player who won the All England Championship in 1980. He defeated Liem Swie King of Indonesia in that memorable final game. Born in 1955, Prakash was the Indian national champion for seven consecutive years from 1972. At the age of 16, in 1971, he won both the Indian juniors’ and the seniors’ titles. His other wins include London Master’s Open, the Danish Open, a Commonwealth Games Gold in 1978 and the Swedish Open. By his own admission, Prakash learnt his game in a wedding hall, which afforded little light to see the shuttle properly. A dignified gentleman, he has never lobbied for awards or solicited fame. His favourite pastime is listening to music and his favourite sports hero is Bjorn Borg.


I do not know if the catwalk queen daughter forgot to mention her father, an all-time hero, to the media. May be, the newspapers, Metro and others, decided that a sweat and blood man had no glamour value on a front page feature. In Sanskrit, Prakash means light, radiance, luminosity etc. Deepika, in turn means ‘that which is of light ’. The father indeed had vision when he named his daughter. I hope she lives up to it. Till she does, Prakash continues to be my hero.


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