Jeever Madness

What a huge loss. I’m a huge fan of Dasgupta’s work and his successful balance of commercial and artistic appeal.

Promotional stills for Deepa Mehta's upcoming adaptation of Salman Rushdie's Midnight’s Children.

Adapting Midnight’s Children seemed like an impossible task, and I was doubtful that this film would actually happen until production actually started. There seemed to be far too much in the novel for an easy film adaptation, and Rushdie’s style seemed especially difficult to translate to the screen. That being said, I’m not one to get up in arms about a film’s fidelity to its source if the film can stand on its own merits. Even if much of the novel had to be cut to allow for a running time under three hours, I’ll be happy if the adaptation can both capture the spirit of the novel and find originality and innovation as a work of cinema.

"Khwabon Khwabon" from Force, performed by KK and Suchitra Kumar.

I need to add this to my running playlist.


Waheeda Rehman, Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt celebrating the silver jubilee run of Chaudvin Ka Chand. [x]

Waheeda Rehman, Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt celebrating the silver jubilee run of Chaudvin Ka Chand. [x]

A selection of photographs from the final roll of kodachrome taken by Steve McCurry and published in Vanity Fair. Partially taken in India, these photographs range in subject from Bollywood actors and writers to members of the Rabari community.

"Urvasi Urvasi" from Kadhalan.

Seriously Urvasi, just take it easy.

"Hello Mister Edirkatchi" from Iruvar

This is Aishwarya Rai’s film debut and a favorite song from my childhood.

"Ek Do Teen" from Tezaab.

Madhuri Dixit taught me how to count to thirteen in Hindi.

As part of the Art of the Trench project, Burberry captured a series of street style photographs in Mumbai and New Delhi to celebrate their signature coat. The photographs, which include shots of Neha Dhupia and Dino Morea, are part of an exhibit commemorating the opening of a new Burberry store in Gurgaon.

Next on my reading list: The Artist of Disappearance by Anita Desai.
Anita Desai is one of India’s most celebrated anglophone writers. Despite three inclusions on the shortlist, she has never won the Booker Prize.

Next on my reading list: The Artist of Disappearance by Anita Desai.

Anita Desai is one of India’s most celebrated anglophone writers. Despite three inclusions on the shortlist, she has never won the Booker Prize.

Indira Goswami, who died on Tuesday aged 69, was among India’s most celebrated contemporary writers whose work spoke boldly and evocatively for the empowerment of women and other marginalised sections of society across the country. For this, she won the nation’s highest literary honours, and respect and adulation in her home State Assam, where she was known as “baideiu” or elder sister. In recent years, she used her public standing and influence to mediate between the separatist group ULFA and the government, paving the way for talks between the two sides.

Writing under the name of Maimon Raisom, she won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1983, the Jnanpith in 2001, and literary prizes from almost every Indian State. In 2008, she received the Prince Claus Award in the Netherlands. With their pan-Indian themes, her novels and short stories, most of which have been translated from the Assamese into English and several Indian languages, had appeal wider than the boundaries of her State. Indira Goswami was not just an Assamese litterateur; she was a national writer from Assam.

"Kalasala" from Osthe, a Tamil remake of Dabangg. This song is the film’s version of “Munni Badnaam Hui” and features Mallika Sherawat as the item girl.

Princess Niloufer of Hyderabad, photographed in Paris in March 1947.

One of the last princesses of the Ottoman Empire, Niloufer Farhat Begum Sahiba married the son of the final Nizam of Hyderabad. Niloufer was known for her glamorous public life and celebrity status; she was considered a fashion icon, appearing in numerous magazines, including Vogue. After divorcing her husband, Niloufer settled in the south of France, integrating into the community of royal exiles in the region.

I’m interested in the type of cosmopolitanism that figures like Princess Niloufer signal through their presence in popular culture and I’d love to write more about celebrity and transnationalism in the wake of colonialism.

Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar II and Maharani Sanyogita Devi of Indore, Photographed by Man Ray in Cannes, France, C. 1930.
Today I toured Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts, an incredible exhibit at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum. I’ll post more extensively about the exhibit, but I had to share this incredible photograph.

Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar II and Maharani Sanyogita Devi of Indore, Photographed by Man Ray in Cannes, France, C. 1930.

Today I toured Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts, an incredible exhibit at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum. I’ll post more extensively about the exhibit, but I had to share this incredible photograph.

Seeing Arundhati Roy speak was incredible. The God of Small Things ranks among my favorite novels and though I sometimes find her politics problematic, I also love her beautifully written nonfiction. She read from her recent long essay “Walking With the Comrades,” which chronicles her experience of spending time in the Dandakaranya forest with tribal groups. Roy spoke about how the complete lack of attention to these groups has completely limited their options for political expression. “Whether you’re a pessimist or an optimist, no one’s asking you,” she said of these indigenous groups. She then commented on the difficulty of strategies like hunger strikes, which she says are powerless for these individuals since they lack access to spaces of political theater. When posed a question about Gandhian strategies of resistance, Roy asks, “Can the hungry go on hunger strikes?”

Roy was insistent about avoiding characterizing herself in careerist terms when asked about her role in the public and again when asked if she would return to fiction. “I never see myself as the voice of the voiceless or any nonsense like that,” she said. She also noted that she doesn’t feel a sense of urgency to write more fiction, though she would like to return to that form of storytelling to support her activism.

Considering how rarely Roy speaks in the United States, I’m thrilled to have gotten a chance to see her. Though I’m anxiously waiting for her to write more fiction, her talk showed that despite the romantic nature of her politics, there is beauty in that romance that emerges through her lush prose. No matter what your political leanings might be, Roy’s nonfiction is worth reading purely because of her tremendous skill as a writer and storyteller.