Saturday, July 30, 2011

The gods are back

Modernizing mythology, a risky business? Do writers need an excel sheet of plans? Writer Amish Tripathi has the answers

His immortals have crossed the boundaries of Meluha and have taken the country by storm. When CT caught up with writer Amish Tripathi, who was in town for a day, he confessed that he had never done anything creative in his life, before his first novel.

"I had not even written a short story before in my life. In school, I was involved in sports and, during my IIM stint, I was the lead singer of the band Baror C (12C). I was an atheist, and at times, had even refused to enter a temple," Amish says. So, how did The Immortals of Meluha happen? "I was watching TV at home one day when I came to know that in ancient Persia, the gods were called Ahuras and the demons called Daivas.

Full report here Times of India 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jaishree's secret is out!

A short interview with indian author, Jaishree Misra about her latest book A Scandalous Secret. She was in the city recently, for a book panel at Landmark. 

Jaishree Misra made a splash in the pool of Indian fiction with her auto-biographical Ancient Promises. She soon went on to release Rani and Afterwards in the subsequent years. The chirpy and ever-smiling author was in Chennai recently at a book panel in Landmark, with her new novel The Scandalous Secret. The author opens up about her new book, her protagonists and a life that revolves around her writing.

What is A Scandalous Secret about? Does it have semi-autobiographical undertones like Ancient Promises
No autobiographical elements whatsoever, thankfully! It's the story of a young woman (Neha) who becomes pregnant while studying as an undergraduate at Oxford University and is persuaded to give the baby up for adoption. Shattered by the experience, she returns to India and tells no one about it, not even the man she subsequently marries. Eighteen years later, however, the child she gave up (Sonya) - now herself a young woman about to start university - decides to come to India in search of her biological mother. It's a story that explores the rather unusual idea of rejection within the mother-daughter relationship.

Full interview here Times of India 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Untold story of India's Maoist movement

The untold story of the Maoists in Bastar Rahul Pandita's book, 'Hello, Bastar' tells the untold story of India's Maoist movement. With direct access to the top Maoist leadership, the author gives us a graphic account of how the radical Reds entered Bastar in 1980 and set up their elaborate network there. He speaks with Jyoti Sharma on how the book came about and more.

Why Hello, Bastar?
Being an independent citizen of India, it is my right to write on issues I want to write about. Hello, Bastar is the story of the Maoist guerillas who entered the region for the first time in 1980. This area has since become the nerve centre of the entire Maoist movement.

How and when did you start working on this project?
I have been working on the subject for about 12 years. New Delhi now calls the Maoist movement as India's biggest internal security threat. I felt many people are confused about this. For a middle-class person in Delhi or Mumbai, there is no difference between a terrorist killed on the Line of Control and a naxal killed in the jungles of Bastar. I think this book will ensure that there is a difference.

Full interview here Times of India 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Writer’s Block

HM Naqvi, whose debut novel won the coveted top honour in a South Asian literary event was in Chennai recently.

The novel, a coming-of-age tale of a gang of young Americans of Asian origin, won rave reviews for Naqvi, who seemed to be in high spirits on his arrival in the city. For someone who wanted to be a writer since he was four, the road has been long and arduous.

"I feel you are born a writer. But, I really didn't feel capable of writing a piece of fiction at 20 or 21," says Naqvi. "However, a decade down the line, I did feel capable of churning out hundreds of pages into a full-fledged novel. And I happened to be in the U.S. at the time.

Had I been in Pakistan, the book might have turned out completely different," he adds.

He stresses that the work is not a memoir, and only bore a few biographical incidents. Most of the events that take place are the outcome of heavy research and sourcing. The Pakistani-born writer who has lived in America for many years, says authenticity isn't something he is worried about.

Full report here Times of India 

Smoke and mirrors

The author of a new book on the Opium Wars on how these kick-started a rare century of decline for China, their place in modern memory, and what they can tell us about globalization today

The Anglo-Chinese Opium Wars of the mid-19th century have sprung back into public memory in India recently. River of Smoke, the second instalment of Amitav Ghosh’s swashbuckling naval Ibis epic, which was published last month, is set in the bustling global city of Guangzhou, or Canton, and follows its Indian, Chinese and European characters, enmeshed in the opium trade through to the brink of the war.

The Opium Wars, conducted in two phases—1839-42 and 1856-60—were a bitter conflict between a British empire eager to expand its global trade, and Qing Dynasty China opposed to British ideas of trade and political relations, and severely displeased with the illegal British supply of opium (which came from the poppy fields of north India) entering the country and raising addiction rates among Chinese at alarming rates.

China’s defeat in the wars is considered the mark of a long period of decline for the country. The world’s oldest nation, and one of its most powerful for much of human history, was to spend the next century fighting against Western empires on the one hand, and the belligerent Japanese empire on the other.

Full review here Mint

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bollywood: A new literary genre

Bollywood is coming alive in fine print. A spate of innovative books is not only documenting Indian moviedom for posterity but also throwing meaningful light on the evolution of mainstream cinema.
“I think for the first time there is a whole range of books now that reflects the incredible range of Bollywood itself,” Udayan Mitra, publishing director at Penguin India, told IANS.
“Readership of film books has grown. The top three trends seem to be visual books, star biographies and memoirs.”
Bollywood became a literary inspiration in the early 1990s with books like “Starry Nights” by Shobaa De and “Show Business” by Shashi Tharoor. On offer now are popular movie screenplays, pictorials and racy novels.
Lipika Bhushan, chief marketing manager at Harper Collins, told IANS: “Our books under ‘Film Series’ sell more than general books. Our title ‘R.D. Burman: The Man And Music’ is in its third reprint, having sold more then 5,000 copies. We have published three non-fiction volumes on individual blockbusters.”
The series so far has covered three landmark movies – “Deewar”, “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” and “Disco Dancer”. While “Amar Akbar Anthony” releases in December, a coffee table book on silent cinema and a volume on Navketan Films are in the pipeline.
Full report here Hindustan Times