Monday, August 5, 2013
Saturday, April 24, 2010
A resonating narrative without a beginning or an end; and without the need for either.
Jayojit, a mid-aged economist settled in US is the unmindful protagonist; other characters being Bonny, his 8 year old son, his parents in Calcutta, and flickering from among a spate of inconsequentiial characters, his now divorced wife, Amala.
The story skims over the 2 months of Jayojit's visit to Calcutta to spend that time of the year when he is legally allowed to be with his son. The core of the narrative, I would say (take caution - a book review is always biased by the reader's then state of mind), is around Jayojit's loneliness which is also everyman's loneliness in the present day of disintegration. A solitude which is not black or white, but a familiar grey - it isn't acutely painful or theoretically glorified but as it must be, with an obvious vulnerability but a maturity that one eventually needs and also acquires as one lives and gets to know life. That solitude is what the author sketches as a central subject, and then flanks and accentuates it in his inimitable style while he sets it off against different backgrounds as if to show its verity. There are everyday dialogues, everyday people, everyday places that anyone belonging to Calcutta in some way will relate instantly with - only depicted so insightfully that it is a delectable form for almost any content - every second paragraph is a little piece of art that lingers after the page is turned.
A special mention for the way the author has brought back Amala into the story time and again. Through fleeting reluctant slices of Jayojit's memory, through inanimate family photo frames, deliberate restriction to barely a sentence or two, mostly non-judgemental, in places where Jayojit is forced back to reminiscence and restrospection on his severed marriage. Jayojit's ex-wife is a rightful character in his story more by virtue of her absence than in her reference by the author.
This book is the author's narrative, but through the pages, almost become Jayojit's. And in that, the two mingle and punctuate the book with a million soliloquays of a lone thinking mind. Am tempted to quote a few:
"When Jayojit couldn't sleep the first few nights, he'd reared the morning's Statesman, the headlines became strange at the end of the day, when the appositeness that the news had in the morning - calamities and predictions - had already passed into daily afterlife."
"There was an anger in him, a frustration; whenever there was reason to be angry, he cut himself off. He'd come to a junction in his life where, over-alert, he was no more confident of being understood or of understanding others."
"He felt not the slightest attraction towards this girl, and was reassured to sense that she probably felt none towards him."
While on one hand, this book is bound to generate a feeling of deja vu for seasoned Amit Chaudhuri readers, on another hand - it is perhaps more contemporary, mature and deeper in its subject and takeaways rather than being predominantly anecdotal and stylish.
All in all, a very Bengali and a very English and a very global book. A recommended read for those who had once smiled and laughed and speculated and contemplated between the lines of Strange and Sublime Address, although A New World is decidedly slower if you go by the pace of the narrative.
For the others, I would suggest this be a second Amit Chaudhuri novel.”
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I just saw this amazing movie called My Girl. I recommend it to anyone who would care to watch a boy struggling through his childhood tribulations and discovering the strange aspects of friendship and brotherhood. The film reminded me strongly of my own childhood and somehow touched my cynical film critic soul into putting this in a long-dead blog.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Ah well, where were we.
(NO) Direction : Willard Carroll, sir, what were you trying to do? We do not need to promote Bollywoodi to the Firang, nor do we want to see a firang trying and failing in what works in India and for Indians. Please STICK to your own kind, sir.... In a very Racist manner, this particular comment is made. NON-INDIANS cant DO Bolly.
On the other hand, Indians can do Holly in Bolly manner. Just take a look at this particular baby. Oh, sorry, Babyy. The word suggest the importance of numbers.... and the numbers score!! I was pretty impressed by the film.
I dont know. It worked. It really worked. I felt the babyy, I felt the three desperate men who were trying to take care of her. It felt nice, to see a good plot (Three Men and a Baby) made Australian-Indian and the formula worked. The music was nice, the plot was quite watertight, and the kid was absolutely OOLIKIMITTICHHANALEBAABAA.....
And well, Vidya Balan. Boys, see what a full, "bholuptuous wooman" is like... Oof. What grace! Gives the women of India a feel of happiness.... someone up the Bolly heaven goes Balle when he sees our curves, and does not get turned off by the bumps and grinds.
So there you see? Woman in black has a lot of exposure, but woman in red saree still raises a man's blood pressure. No contests whatsoever.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
The story or, rather, stories of this film talks about love-- true love, abruptly-ended love, unfinished love, doomed love, happy love, disturbed love... a whole lot of them. It delineates how a relationship is built up and how it is broken. How two persons, all of a sudden, come closer, and then, eventually, drift apart leaving a permanent mark on each other's memory. How time, our very own individual time, is shaped through our memories-- memories of love, affection, relationship.
But the real beauty of the film lies in the extremely rich visuals; the superb camera-work and the typical Wongish blend of music with the striking visuals. These alone hold together the two apparently disconnected stories. Sometimes the scene is blurred except for the main character; sometime there is intentional time lapse between shots; sometimes the crowd around the character move at a faster pace while the character moves in slow motion. I must also mention the exceptionally beautiful use of mise-en-scene in the film. Wong Kar Wai creates multiple screens within a single shot by cleverly using shadows, mirrors or glass objects. The characters, sometimes, exist at two different places at the same time or same places at different time. Often, the time-gap between two shots are deliberately missing (you will feel as if it is the continuation of the same shot, but actually it is the same place at some other time), giving you a vertiginous feeling of timelessness. And, of course, as I’ve already mentioned, there is this unforgettable mix of music and visuals. In a particularly striking scene in the second half of the film, when the protagonist makes love to his girlfriend, an airhostess by profession, in the background we hear the usual safety instructions announced in an aircraft, interspersed by a romantic song.
Last but not the least, is the acting. Who will forget the icy beauty of Bridgitte Lin or the quirky extravagance of Faye Wang? Faye Wang instantly reminded me of Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady” (later, in an IMDB review, I’ve read the same comment!).
Overall, it is but a thorough feast for eyes and mind!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
The beautifully crafted film is an attempt to portray the seclusion and alienation that the modern man faces in the claustrophobic cityscape. Kenji embodies the humane attempt to reach out, to connect which, at the end, probably fails. The whimsical and childlike presence of Noi, in contrast with Kenji’s meticulously ordered self, depicts the yearning to break free from the order of things, from logic, from the overtly predictable existence and probably from the inescapable grip of destiny. This futile attempt is surrounded by brutality, by violence, by death…
The film has some unforgettable moments, woven by the director in surrealistic manner, some inherent and carefully maintained ambiguity, interchangeable presence of Noi and her wounded sister in the house, the erotically charged atmosphere within the house, a book called “The Last Lizard in the Universe”, a possible identity of Kenji as a yakuja himself, and an unforgettable ending which is, probably, not the ending but actually the starting point towards understanding the film, the text…