Book Review – Mandate: Will of the People by Vir Sanghvi

mandateMandate: Will of the People is a simple book that tells the story of Indian politics in a gripping style that will surely appeal to people who love light-reading. Let’s be frank. This book carries no out-of-the-box, never-told-before factoid that will take the country by storm. Any fan of Indian non-fiction and political writing would already know of the events chronicled here. Yet, the nuanced ‘story-telling’ adds to the charm of revisiting the history of modern India.

Vir Sanghvi, a well-known columnist, has relied on his own experiences and memories to pen down the last few decades in Indian political spectrum. He has also relied on the various interviews to chronicle a candid account of the back room power games and the political action that hardly met the public eye. This book tells brings alive the men and women behind the headlines.

Mandate weaves together several important landmarks in post-modern India history from the declaration of the Emergency to the rise and fall of Sanjay Gandhi. It takes you through the Punjab insurgencies, the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the bloody riots that followed. The book also deals with Rajiv Gandhi’s legacy as PM and the cacophony of alliance-politics thereafter. From the prime ministership of PV Narsimha Rao to the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation to the very recent denouncement of PM-ship by Sonia Gandhi – it all finds place between the covers.

Mandate is not the best book on Indian politics. Vir Sanghvi’s lucid style of writing and personal touch works positively for the book. It would be a good medium of initiating the uninterested, 2-minutes noodles crazy Generation Y to the tales of our country that do not find a place in history text books yet. It is essential for the future generations to know the history of modern India, specially after the emergency, Sanghvi does justice to the cause.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

P.S. – Thank you Writers Melon for the review copy of the book.

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

Movie Review: Kadambari by Suman Ghosh

kadambari image

When I first read in the newspapers that Konkona Sen Sharma was going to play Kadambari opposite Parambrata Chattopadhyay (Rabindranath Tagore), I was thrilled. It seemed to be a dream come true; Konkona was just perfect for the role. The enigma that Rabindranath-Kadambari Debi’s relationship is, it was natural to have an insatiable urge to watch it on the big screen. But when I left the theatre this evening after 2 hours and five minutes, I was disappointed.

Kadambari – the film – is pretentious. It tries to create a make-believe world of late nineteenth century only through props and dated costumes. The script is sloppy, given the fact it is based on two great novels: Sunil Gangopadhyay’s Prothom Alo and Mallika Sengupta’s Kobir Bouthan. The dynamics of relationships – between Kadambari and Jyotirindra, between Jyotirindra and Gyanodanandini, between Gyanodanandini and Rabindranath or between Gyanodanandini and Kadambari – left a lot to be explored.

The film has several anachronistic loop holes. Even the age-difference between Jyoti (or Gyanodanandini) and Kadambari is glaring during the childhood sequence. The child actors are wasted as they seem to have been forced to parrot their lines (did they not grasp the gravity of their roles?).

If anyone has read Thakurbarir Andarmahal (or even its English translation Jorasanko), they would be fascinated by the aura of Gyanodanandini. Titas Bhowmick was a disappointment of epic proportions in the role. Her character was reduced to that of a manipulative vamp in a saas-bahu saga. Even Kaushik Sen was overrated as the supremely talented Jyotirindranath Tagore.

Although Parambrata was unconvincing as the young Rabi, his chemistry with Konkona was brilliant. In fact, it was the sheer talent of Konkona that pulls this film through 120 odd minutes. The blank expression of shock after Urmila’s death or the marks of jealousy on her face when she learns about Binodini can become text book case for what flawless acting is.

Apart from Konkona, Bickram Ghosh’s background score saves the day for the film. Beautiful recreation of Rabindranath’s timeless creations will leave you spellbound. Hats off to Ustad Amjad Ali Khan for the ethereal title track. Having said that, I really want to know what prompted the director to use Babul Supriyo’s voice for the end credits when Srikanta Acharya was part of the film!

At the end of the day, the director may have unwittingly described the relationship between Rabindranath and Kadambari Debi in one of the scenes, without meaning to. When Kadambari confronts Jyoti over his affair with Binodini, he replies she is only a muse and not his lover. Kadambari may have been the same for young Rabi? May be more than that… Only history will be the judge.

As for the fictional biopic on Kadambari, Konkona outshines a sloppy script and B-grade film.

My rating: 2/5 stars

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights


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