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   |  Comments

The weekend is here!!!

I was finally able to see the movie Before Sunrise today, thanks to Tejaswi (and his friend from Bangalore). The film is as good if not better than its sequel - Before Sunset (I seem to have this knack of getting to the sequels (of books or movies) before their prequels). Anyway, I had read the script quite some time back. But surprisingly this took away nothing from the actual experience of watching the movie.

Made in 1995 or thereabouts, the movie is about the chance...

Wait! Before you begin thinking that I am going to spoil the whole thing for you by giving away the story, right till the ending and all that, let me tell you one thing - the ending is but a small part of the whole movie, literally (considering a ratio of around 10 minutes to 100 minutes) and figuratively. The movie is more about the journey rather than the destination. So, read on.

...meeting of two people, Jesse (Ethan Hawke), an American and Celine (Julie Delpy), a French girl on a train from Budapest. Jesse is headed for Vienna from where he has to catch a flight the next morning back to America. Celine is going back to her home in Paris. They get talking & soon Jesse persuades Celine to get down with him at Vienna so that they can continue their conversation. Jesse with his spontaneity, cynical observations & rebellious nature and the emotional Celine, a firm believer in the God-is-in-the-details philosophy form an unlikely pair, as they roam through the streets of Vienna the whole day, talking all the while about subjects like life, love, relationships, God and so on. Their conversations form the central theme of the movie. Incidents like the impromptu poem composition, the palm reading session, even the atheist joke in the church serve to bring out the various shades of the characters' personalities. The movie ends with the two parting with a promise to meet in Vienna in 6 months time, followed by the camera showing the places visited by them, but with the difference that they seem subdued & much less lively without the loquacious pair.

Ethan Hawke's portrayal of the very American Jesse is superb. The pretty Julie Delpy, with her dulcet voice & an accent to match is a perfect fit for Celine's role. The chemistry between the two is to be seen to be believed. By the way, the story is supposed to be partly based on the director, Richard Linklater's chance meeting with an unknown woman in Philadelphia.

Tags : Blogger Days, Movies

Posted by Rajat @ 11:57 PM   |  Comments