Monday, June 22, 2015

One for the Movie Buff!

Popcorn Essayists : What Movies Do To Writers by Jai Arjun Singh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars




Another fine book from Tranquebar, this collection, edited by Jai Arjun Singh, has thirteen specially commissioned pieces on films of various genres, from diverse places and dealing with this or that aspect of films.

The first story, Jellyfish by Manjula Padmanabhan, sort of rambles on comfortably, basically sharing her experiences, meeting film buffs and having to watch the sort of arty farty films which grace some auditoria in Delhi, for example. She's used a format which makes it come alive, using dates, conversation and interspersing a "cut to" here and a "dissolve" there.

Manil Suri's My Life as a Cabaret Dancer is one of my favourites not only because of the entertaining content but also beacuse he writes well - I look forwards to reading his novels. He's an amazing man - a mathematician and novelist.

The second article I enjoyed immensely is Musharraf Ali Farooqi's The Foot-Worshipper's Guide to Watching Maula Jatt, written with much tongue in cheek. He analyses what sounds like a B Grade film with a very serious tone-almost like Stephen Leacock.

Terminal Case by Sidin Vadukut was also amusing-a look at an Indian family in Dubai in the VHS tape days, the author's first film in a hall, seeing a Malayalam film in Kerala with extended family, and various other escapades related to the viewing of films.

With classy cover, The Popcorn Essayists can work as a coffee table book. Given the diversity of voices, it's not only movie buffs who'd love to have a copy-another fine book for an anytime present to anyone-so long as they love to read!


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