Friday, June 06, 2008

At the Turin Book Fair

Back in May, I was at the Turin book fair. It was an interesting trip and far more fun than I had expected thanks basically to my Italian publishers Cargo/Ancora del Mediterraneo. But it wasn't all wine and song! So here goes the link for an televised chat in which I participated (this was the work part of being at the fair).

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Update from Sunny: By Popular Demand

I am rather touched to receive emails from readers of this blog - frankly I didn't know I had any who were not family and friends - asking for an update. So first of all apologies; I have indeed been remiss. Secondly an explanation: I have been travelling partly to promote translations of my novel, With Krishna's Eyes, and partly for pleasure. And you will all recognise, for me that means limited access to the net.

For the moment however, I am posting a photograph of the French cover of the novel. I am not quite sure if I like Aishwarya on the cover (would personally have preferred Sush if they really wanted a Bollywood babe!). But it did make me remember a curious little fact about writing the novel. I had been working in film production when I began writing the novel, mostly for friends. And then began my doctorate in cinema towards the end of it. Somehow all that cinema leaked into the book so much so that at one point I found myself fantasizing who would play the characters if I turned the novel into a movie. So by the time I finished the manuscript I had a wish list of sorts in my head.

There was really no option for Baba. Had to be the great AB - and yes! I grew up in the 1970s and he is the towering old man of Hindi cinema! Just as Chachaji had to be a slighly roughed edged SRK - mad, romantic, affectionate but with a bitter edge, in a guest appearance of course.

Dadiji was a tough one because in my head I can't imagine the actress who could play her but Deepti Naval seemed to pop up a lot as an option. Alongside, oddly enough Tanuja - who, personally I think, has been the single most under-rated actress in Indian cinema.

Krishna had to be someone new - fresh faced and unknown, not someone hugely glamorous but also not behenji-ish. Some actress who could do contemporary urban Indian; someone sligtly vulnerable but tough. An early Rani Mukherjee or even a Preity Zinta in her Dil Se moment. Or a Vidya Balan today.

Not surprisingly, my favourite character of all is Damayanti. In a way, the story grew out of her character. She is also the most difficult one to visualise. I suppose Waheeda Rehman in her Kabhie Kabhie days would have been perfect: with the same grace and glamour that I visualised for Damayanti. But for logistical reasons, I would have loved Madhuri before she got the frozen, wind-tunnel look (WHAT A SHAME!). And weirdly enough, coming back to where we started: I think Sush - given a director like Gulzar - could pull off a brilliant Damayanti. She has that sort of uber-cool, urban-but-trad look while also projecting an inner steel.

Oh well, kisi din paisa hoga...ya, at least interest hoga. And a director who would love to make the film. On the condition of course that while the cast and crew is totally negotiable, Santosh Sivan shoots the film! I can just visualise my favourite bits of the novel rendered by Sivan's lens. In fact, another secret: in my head the novel rolled out like a Sivan-shot film for a private showing.

So there you go...but for the moment, just the uber-glam French cover! Meanwhile, I truly wish I could some day grow up to be as cool as my French disembodied self.