Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A compilation post: links, books, films, etc

Off to Jaipur for the lit-fest soon and won't be online much till the 25th, so here are a few reminders/notes about the fest and other things:

- The "Popcorn Essayists" session of readings and conversation with Kamila Shamsie, Anjum Hasan, Namita Gokhale and Jaishree Mishra will be on the 24th, at 10 AM in the Mughal Tent - so if you're at the festival, please try to come for it. (More here.)

- Later on the 24th, I'll be moderating a session with Jerry Pinto and Jaishree at the Baithak; they will also read from their latest work. And I'm in conversation with Kiran Desai on the front lawns on the 22nd afternoon.

- Jaane bhi do Yaaro: Seriously Funny Since 1983 is still available on Flipkart and, I'm told, doing reasonably well. Astonishingly, it can also be found in a few bookstores now (I thought the day would never arrive)
so do spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested in narrative writing about cinema. Reviews and general media coverage are on the blog's right sidebar.

- I did this short piece about Jaane bhi do Yaaro as a "concept film" for the Hindustan Times last Sunday; they asked me to do it to accompany a review they were carrying.

- Vinay Lal's Deewaar book is now on Flipkart too. Here's an interesting blog-post by Lal on "the act of writing in Deewaar". (A bit more on that theme in this Time Out feature). And here's a very old post I wrote about Deewaar, a film I intend to see again soon.

- Meanwhile I made my first ever online books purchase a few days ago (from Flipkart): got a replacement copy of an old favourite, Joy Gould Boyum's Double Exposure: Fiction Into Film (a superb analysis of movies adapted from literature), and am waiting eagerly for Andrew Sarris's The American Cinema: Directors and Directions to be delivered.

- A few things I've been reading: Matt Ridley's The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, Shehan Karunatilaka's Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, and the elegant Penguin Modern Classics editions of R K Narayan's The Vendor of Sweets and Waiting for the Mahatma. Will try and write about some of this if I get the time.

- Movies recently seen include Victor Erice's beautiful The Spirit of the Beehive (which I need to see again and perhaps write about). Have also re-watched Satyakam, Aranyer Din Ratri, Out of the Past and The Apartment, and there's been a superb mini-fest of Chaplin films too: City Lights, Modern Times and Limelight. Very satisfying.


  1. hello sir,
    I've been following your blog for quite some time now.
    just wanted to ask you one thing.
    how the hell can i get a job profile like yours?? it fills me with fresh bouts of envy each time i go through a post of yours!!

  2. Apart from repeating Raza's question, I would also like to ask - How in the world do you get time to do all this! If I leave my job, your blog would be the prime reason I cite in the exit interview.

  3. Raza: about getting a job profile like mine...keep in mind that I did all sorts of mundane and soul-deadening things for years before managing to ease into the sort of work I do now. Didn't even start working properly as a feature writer until I was past my mid-20s. When I look at how quickly most kids today slip into heir professions of choice, I feel hugely regretful about my own misspent past.

    Arnav: believe it or not, my time-management skills are actually quite poor, and I myself am very envious of fellow writers/people in my field who are a lot more prolific and efficient. But being a freelancer does help to an extent.

  4. I remember reading Waiting for the Mahatma a long time ago. And I found it a very pleasing read like most of Narayan. Yet, somehow I've never been a huge fan of his.

    His observation can be quite shallow though it may be argued that what he lacks in profundity, he makes up in his prose style which is always very crisp and vivid. It is perhaps easier for a foreigner or even a North Indian to love the idyllic world of his books. For me, it can be a little too uncomfortable and embarrassing given that the social milieu of my adolescence was not all that different from that of Narayan's characters.

    It could be argued that Narayan is the Indian Wodehouse, albeit lacking the latter's verbal dexterity. Like Wodehouse, he is better appreciated by outsiders than by readers closer to his own social milieu.

  5. Out of the Past and The Apartment - what a double bill that would make. One man with a past that keeps catching up with him, the other with a future that's always just out of grasp.

    If you haven't, see Erice's El Sur as well. I can't get over the way that film looks. It's like it's shot on enamel.