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Veteran film historian and cricket journalist Raju Bharatan dies at 86

Raju Bharatan was known among cinephiles for his intricate books on the late composer Naushad and singers Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar.

Our Correspondent

Raju Bharatan, former senior journalist and well-known expert on cricket and Hindi film music, died in Mumbai today. He was 86. 

Raju, son of the AS Bharatan, the first general manager of the Press Trust of India news agency, began his sports journalist career by commentating on radio for India's tour of England back in 1952, when he was still a teenager. Soon, he became one of the more recognized names in radio commentary.

Raju then went on to work with The Illustrated Weekly of India magazine from The Times of India group for over four decades, serving under such editors as Khushwant Singh, MV Kamath, Pritish Nandy and Anil Dharker.

He directed The Victory Story (1974), the first full-length documentary on cricket for the Films Division, about India's maiden Test series win over England in England in 1971 under the leadership of Ajit Wadekar.

Raju's love for cricket led to him writing his first book, Rivals In The Sun, based on the first series that he covered, India's 1952 tour of England. He also wrote Indian Cricket: The Vital Phase (1977), analyzing the changing nature of the Indian game. 

Apart from cricket, Raju Bharatan had a keen interest in Hindi film music and shared a close friendship with the late composer Naushad. His wife, the late Girija Rajendran, was also a film journalist.

Raju's deep knowledge of film music and its structures is one of the highlights of his book, Naushadnama: The Life and Music of Naushad, which was published in 2013.

A prolific author and media columnist, he wrote four books on Hindi cinema, including three on influential musical personalities. Apart from the book on Naushad, the other two were Lata Mangeshkar: A Biography (1995) and Asha Bhosle: A Musical Biography (2016). 

Raju Bharatan is survived by his daughter Shilpa, son-in-law Sriganesh Iyer and grandchildren Sucharita and Sachinshankar.