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Tales of grit, gore, grime and crime

Life&More December 27, 2018
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Saurabh Tankha

Bhupen Patel is an investigative journalist, credited with many a scoops. In the course of his career, he exposed many kinds of crimes ranging from mental asylum admitting patients without proper scrutiny, ‘film producers’ fleecing wannabe actors and actresses in the name of making movies to agents who arrange for temporary wives for middle-aged and old men from Gulf countries.

I must admit when I first picked up The Anatomy of a Sting, I didn’t think much of it. Being an editor myself, I know how reporters write stories; I am familiar with the excessive amount of rewriting that occasionally goes into making a reporter’s copy reader-friendly. But I must say I was in for a pleasant shock. Patel has done a marvellous job. His writing style is racy and keeps you on the edge. Once you start with a case, you just cannot leave it midway. And after you have read one case, you want to read the next, and the next. Till you reach the last one and then suddenly realise there is no more and you have this longing, if only there was one more story!

Yes, this book is really interesting. It recounts, in complete detail, some of Patel’s most dramatic and hard-hitting stings that he carried as an investigative journalist at The Mid-Day. Through the stories, the author gives an insight into the functioning of a newspaper office – how stories are okayed and approved, how the editors back a ‘good story’ and how the colleagues, all join hands to bring a story to a logical conclusion.

These ‘stories’ tell you the tales of grit, gore, grime and crime; they tell you the extreme danger to which investigative journalists put their life into. And they make you want to respect a journalist. In these days when scores of paid journalists are moving around brazenly, The Anatomy of a Sting brings to fore the genuine ones who are doing yeoman’s service to the society, driven just by their passion to do the right thing!

I am glad I nodded in affirmation when Harper Collins guys asked me if I would review a copy.

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