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Cultural Press

Will Buddha smile?

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
Buddha’s way. Photo by Leonard Laub on Unsplash The future of the Left in India will depend on the success of the ‘Bengal line’. There was a sigh of relief all round when the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) announced, after its central committee meeting in Kolkata, that it would give the UPA more opportunities to find a way out of the current imbroglio over the nuclear deal and not precipitate a political crisis. The general interpretation is…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion, Politics | Read More

The Indian in me has always stayed

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
MG Vassanji is best known for his novels The Gunny Sack and The Book of Secrets. His last work, The In-between World Of Vikram Lall, gave academia a catchphrase — ‘in-between’ — to underline shifting identities in an increasingly global world. Born and brought up in East Africa, Vassanji went to the US to study and then moved to Canada. He has won the Giller Prize twice. In India to promote his new novel, Vassanji talks about The Assassin’s Song, set in Gujarat and culminating in…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Interview | Read More

The life of the novel is elsewhere

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
It is a known fact that literary criticism from practising authors/ poets carry a whiff of fresh air as compared to those by professional critics and academics. Not that in the case of the former, the end result is necessarily superior, but they do not have that extra burden of proving the probable and extricating the improbable. Instead, as Milan Kundera’s The Curtain amply exhibits, a writer engages with the unencumbered flow of discourses and ideas that a…

There is no minority any more, anywhere

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
Arjun Appadurai is the Senior Advisor for Global Initiatives and the John Dewey Professor in Social Sciences at New School University in New York. He was born and educated in Bombay and did his MA and PhD from the University of Chicago. Appadurai is one of the few scholars who have defined the way we have come to understand globalisation. He is also involved deeply with Mumbai-based NGO, PUKAR (Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action and Research). He spoke to Sayandeb…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Interview, Politics | Read More

Road not taken

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
Different roads. Image Photo Arno Senoner/Unsplash Despite similar backgrounds, Mayawati (R) and Mamata seem to be going different ways. The extent of success that Mayawati’s ‘social engineering project’ is going to have in the daily business of running the largest state in India is currently one of the hottest debates in Indian politics. What is also dominating discussion is how she is going to influence government behaviour at the centre in the coming years. But what is already visible…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion, Politics | Read More

Going back to Ray

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
Satyajit Ray, by Nemai Ghosh. Image under copyright. The idea of commercially re-releasing three of Satyajit Ray’s films by Sony Pictures is an inspired idea. Ray remains, despite Bollywood’s repeated efforts to ‘showcase’ itself in respectable film venues like Cannes and Venice — the most enduring icon of Indian cinema. The release, thankfully, does not include the umpteenth rerun of his Apu Trilogy, for which he is feted the world over. The films being screened were made between 1968 and 1970…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Homage | Read More

What’s really bugging Gogol Ganguli?

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
So much has already been said about The Namesake being about finding one’s home both within and without, that I saw it as incumbent upon me to go and see the film, more so since it was about my home and my city. The novel had not made my heart melt, but then I read it when I was not ‘outside’ my home. So I thought the film might provoke those emotions that the novel did not, especially after Mira Nair’s insistence…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Books, Opinion | Read More

Taking the Mickey out of animation

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
There is a new graphic novel in town – Sarnath Banerjee’s The Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers, Steven Spielberg is producing a Tintin film, and noir director Anurag Kashyap is directing Hanuman 2. Suddenly, animation is threatening to grow up and rival adult live-action entertainment in a big way. Disney, Chandamama, and Superman creators Siegel and Shuster are in danger of being left behind for SFX, CGI, 3D, ‘comix’, manga, anime, graphic novel, and video games, as visual narratives ramify into widely varied,…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Animation, Cinema, Comics | Read More

Churnings of change

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
Bengal is chained to politics. Image by Photo by John Salvino/Unsplash Last week, the world saw visuals of poor villagers, bleeding and being carried away after the police opened fire on villagers in Nandigram in Bengal. They were protesting against the acquisition of farmlands for industries. For anyone, it was revolting that a democratically elected government should shoot down its people because they were engaging in what appeared to be legitimate protest. Not surprisingly, the general reaction was…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion, Politics | Read More

The wonder that was Calcutta

Published @ Daily News & Analysis
Those were wonderful wonderful times. The middle of the 18th century. Calcutta, the second city of the British Empire, was an extension of the first city in many ways — in its riches, its arrogance and its excess. Except that in Calcutta these great imperial values included even the despondent native elite who, flushed with wealth, invented the most absurd and obnoxious ways to get rid of it. Sarnath Banerjee’s second graphic novel, The Barn Owl’s Wondrous Capers has many…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Book Review, Calcutta | Read More