New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) When an issue cropped up in a planned unofficial India-Pakistan match in Kolkata in 1987, after the two countries didn’t clash during the immediately preceding World Cup held in the subcontinent, Imran Khan wrote a critical piece in a leading sports weekly on the failure of Indian organisers to stage the game.
Well-known writer and commentator Kishore Bhimani, who passed away on Thursday aged 80, wrote a stinging rebuttal in the next issue, and topped it up with something like “I am allergic to the odour of the fish market”.
That was Bhimani — straightforward, honest, brilliant writer/journalist, and a forceful radio and TV commentator. He always called a spade a spade. He passed way in a private nursing home in Kolkata on Thursday. Bhimani is survived by his wife and a son.
Two of Kolkata’s adopted sons – former Test players Arun Lal and Ashok Malhotra – paid rich tribute to the stalwart they knew well for many years.
“He has been my mentor, a well-wisher, a friend, and an inspiration — everything to me, at least. I always liked to read his writings and his viewpoints. He was pretty straightforward and honest, that was something I admired about him,” Lal, 65, told IANS from Kolkata.
“I knew him for many years, from the time I settled down in Kolkata [coming from north India]. I came in 1978 — 42 years ago — and I think I knew him since 1980,” said the man who represented India in Tests and ODIs between 1982 and 1989.
Former India batsman Malhotra, too, recalled ‘fondly’ his association with Bhimani.
“We all were very fond of him and he was an absolute wonderful man. He would use very colourful language in his writings and was a very good commentator. He was a very social man and was very friendly with everybody, and a very well liked man in Kolkata,” Malhotra, 63, said.
“I knew him for donkey’s years. We used to meet him often, at parties at his house and all that. I had a lot of interaction with him. He used to gel well with everybody — be it young, be it old, be it male, be it female. He was very soft spoken and very well liked,” said the Amritsar-born stocky batsman who represented India in Tests and ODIs between 1982 and 1986.
Former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi also paid heartfelt tribute to Bhimani.
“RIP Kishore Bhimani… he was one of the good Old Fashioned Crkt writer who took Crkt writings like a player who takes to playing…Condolences to his Spouse Rita & Son Gautam.. God Bless All Always..Fondly,” Bedi tweeted.
“Farewell Kishore Bhimani. Cricket journalist and a true lover of #Kolkata,” politician Derek O’Brien tweeted.
Bhimani graduated from the St Xavier’s College in Kolkata and then joined the London School of Economics. He returned and joined The Statesman newspaper in 1964. He was also the president of the Calcutta Sports Journalists Club from 1978 to 1980.