Vijender vs Zulpikar and the Return of Knockout Nationalism

Sports

Vijender vs Zulpikar and the Return of Knockout Nationalism

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza

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nce upon a time, in the distant and murky past, I used to go to a gym. It had all the usual sights you’d expect: meatheads giving themselves bedroom eyes while lifting weights in front of a mirror, creaky machines that never quite stop smelling of strangers’ sweat, and a chorus of grunts and counts of “ooooone, twwoooo” filling the air. But a place goes from being a gathering of bench-press addicts to a genuine Indian gym only when there’s a poster of Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger on the wall.

For a generation growing up watching reruns of the Rambo and Rocky films on Star Movies, stars like Stallone were demi-gods. I mean, just look at Sajid Nadiadwala or Tiger Shroff. It can’t be long before we’ll be asked to buy into the notion that Varun Dhawan, or Siddharth Malhotra, or whichever cookie-cutter starling you prefer, is the second coming of Italian Stallion. The Bharati Bull, anybody?

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