The Sports pages was very popular for its action photographs and crisp articles by renown writers. Action photographs was The Hindu's forte. Collecting Cricket pictures was a favourite pastime with many cricket followers and these action photographs added a lot of value to the collections. Not many newspapers carried action pictures but The Hindu was ahead.
The Hindu is also probably the first to publish an exclusive magazine dedicated to sports. It started "Sport and Pastime" in 1947 under the leadership of S.K.Gurunathan, who was the Sports Editor at The Hindu. He was a renown sports journalist, a cricket statistician and a player himself in his younger days. Gurunathan passed away in 1966, but the weekly magazine limped for two years after his death before it ceased publication in 1968. Sports-following public has always been on the rise and the stoppage of this unique and popular magazine disappointed many.
The magazine was unique because it tried to cover varied hobbies and pastimes besides popular sports events.
It featured even the film festival in 1965. Sir Richard Attenborough was here!
It had a centre-spread from time to time - in colour. Here it has B.S.Chandrashekhar who was a rising star in 1965. I must tell that colour pictures were a great attraction in those days.
Demonstration of cricketing strokes with a series of photographs - here it is Don Bradman's cover drive. Pictures borrowed by them from Daily Mail, London. People had no access to films of action in those days but such series photographs helped learners of the game.
Cooch Behar Trophy - which was Schools Cricket, also got coverage in Sport and Pastime.
Sunil Gavaskar was coming to limelight in 1966. This is from the issue dated January 1.
There was an athlete by name Akhande from Kenya who was studying in Mysore and represented Mysore University in the inter-varsity sports. He was a star in his own right and his name was on people's tongues in Mysore in the mid 60s which I remember. I have very unclear memory of seeing him at Maharaja's College Grounds where at that time, there was a long jump/high jump pit where he used to practice. He was a runner and also a footballer. He was also featured on Sport and Pastime Cover [Nov.1965]!!
"Laugh it off" page full of cartoons. I liked Sporting Sam the best! It came in "Sportsweek" also later in the 1970s from Bombay, for which I used to subscribe.
Action photographs were its forte. They were supported and given value addition with beautiful, informative and meaningful captions:
Varsities cricket and other sports at that level also got good coverage. Through this, it gave good encouragement to upcoming players.
These magazines are all not mine! They were given to me by my good friend and our team captain Kashi. This lot was among a huge collection of cricket pictures which he handed over to me when he left for the USA many years ago. Here is the pile of the few issues he gave me.
Came 1978 there was a great surprise waiting for sports fans. Much to their delight, there was sort of a rebirth for Sport and Pastime. It was to bring a similar magazine out, larger, like a mini newspaper with a new name "Sportstar". I have the inaugural issue, Vol.1, Issue 1 for which I waited for, went to Newspaper House in Lansdowne Building and bought on the day of issue. It was thrilling. I used to buy from the pocket money of Rupees five which my father gave me. Each issue would cost one rupee and fifty paisa. By month end, I had to use the small savings in the piggy box!
I have kept the pen to compare the size of the new format.
The back cover which they called 'mini cover' also had a picture. Look at young Martina Navratilova there! Wimbledon '78 had just been finished and Bjorn Borg had won the Men's final (see above cover pic).
Of course the publishers needed no introduction!
True to its promise, action pictures continued to delight readers and fans, not to speak of the quality of articles. I used to buy mainly for its pictures and articles were secondary. Collecting pictures [cricket] was a hobby among many prior to the 70s. Afterwards, this hobby has lost popularity.
It has successfully won over competitions from Sportsweek from Bombay and Sportsworld [which Tiger Pataudi wrote editorials] from Calcutta and is still growing strong. I have stopped subscribing or reading many years ago due to various reasons. I have many old issues gathering dust. It is a tough decision to dispose them off for want of storage space and want of interest to bring them down for a re-look/re-read. But let Sportstar continue to shine.