Touch Play is the authorised biography of Prakash Padukone, one of the greats of world badminton. This is the first book on an Indian badminton player, and is possibly only the second biography of any badminton player. (The first is a biography of the English player Gillian Gilks.)
The book covers the life and playing career of one of India’s greatest sportsmen. Prakash was a highly-respected figure in international badminton. He was the first to achieve a ‘Grand Slam’: The Swedish, Danish and All England titles in succession. He was ranked in the world’s top ten for close to a decade, and he was reckoned as one of the few players capable of resisting the dominance of the Chinese and the Indonesians.
The book traces his rise from playing in a wedding hall in old-world Malleswaram in Bangalore to the high-pressure cauldrons of Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London, and other venues. It attempts to place his performance in the perspective of currents in Indian and international badminton. It is based on more than 200 interviews with family, friends, and Prakash's national and international contemporaries, including Rudy Hartono, Han Jian, Morten Frost, Icuk Sugiarto, and Christian Hadinata.
Prakash played at a time of international ferment. The ‘Open’ era, the rise of professionalism, and the arrival of the Chinese into the international fold happened early in his career. All three developments changed the character of the game — a record of Prakash’s career is therefore reflective of that period of world badminton.
The book was released on 11 January 2006 by Prakash Padukone on the final day of the National Badminton Championships in Bangalore. The launch of the book was timed to coincide with the National Championships as it was a historic event for badminton in Bangalore. The last National Championships in the city were held in 1962, and organised by Ramesh Padukone (Prakash’s father) who was the pioneer of shuttle badminton in Karnataka (then Mysore).
Apart from a narrative of Prakash’s exploits on the Indian and international scene, the book contains:
· A glimpse into Indian and world badminton history
· A description of developments in Indian badminton between 1970 and 2001
· Sketches of Prakash’s international contemporaries
· Sketches of prominent competitions such as the All England, the World Championships, and the Thomas Cup
· A detailed history of badminton in Mysore