My last lab ( hopefully :-) The weekend is here!!!

122 pages in under 2 hours

I finished Bhuvan Shome - an Akademi Award winning book by Bonophul (nom de plume of Balai Chand Mukhopadhyay), translated from Bengali by Lila Ray. Bonophul's other famous works include Mrigaya, Jangam and Sri Madhusudan.

Railway officer Bhuvan Shome is an old & lonely widower. He is a strict disciplinarian and uncompromising in his principles & values. He expects similar dedication & integrity from others. He goes on a duck-hunting trip near the Ganges. Here he is dogged by bad luck - his cart is attacked by a water buffalo, his boat goes adrift & develops a leak, the birds are driven away by hunters on motorboats, his first shot at the birds ends up nowhere. Whew!! He meets a village girl who helps him out. His high standards give way under her simplicity.

Bhuvan's family comprises of an array of depressing characters with a mother obsessed with perfect propriety, adamant sisters and good-for-nothing brothers-in-law along with their thieving brats (fourteen of them), and above all, an ill-tempered wife. Bhuvan's frustrations are compounded by the unhelpful attitude of the women in the house to his hobbies - painting and later on cooking, both of which are brought to an early end. At this point he takes to hunting. His hunting partners at various times include a conceited Bhutnath, a vulgar Dwijen, Chhattu Sen who claims all credit for any kill and Kartik Mukherjee who turns out to be the perfect scarecrow, for they never manage to kill anything with him around. These parts are written in a tart manner which brings about some relief from the almost constant thread of depressing darkness running throughout the book. I suppose the translation reduces the effect of the book somewhat, but nevertheless it portrays the turbulent post-independence times quite well.

This book was made into a Hindi movie by the same name by noted Bengali director Mrinal Sen in 1969 - I haven't seen the movie though. The role of Bhuvan Shome is played by Utpal Dutt & if you ask me, he is just the man for it. If you have seen the laugh riot, Golmaal, you will know what I am talking about (He essays a similar role there - a man with discipline,integrity & all that and, believe it or not, a strong bias against men without a moustache). Suhasini Mulay plays the part of the village girl who is called Gouri in the movie.

Tags : A Bookworm's Diet, Blogger Days, Movies

Posted by Rajat @ 4:30 PM

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