Three informers. Murky bylanes of the underworld that hold the key to deadly terror plots. The chase for India's most wanted terrorist. The lives of three of Mumbai police's best informers collide in the shady bylanes of the underworld. It's a bad bad world. A world of crime, sex, drugs, murder and betrayal. He who lies lives to see the light of another day. A day replete with even greater risks. From shady underworld dealings to switching gang loyalties, the men graduate to selling information on terrorism. Then begins the chase...to catch India's most wanted terrorist: Riyaz Bhatkal, the man with the ominous track record of masterminding seven blasts in three years. The search takes them to the most unassuming yet dangerous terror hubs across India. With trust in short supply, time ticking away and the sword of Damocles over their heads, the men can only hope that they are not on a wild goose chase.
In the 1980s, an unheralded Hindi movie, made on a budget of less than Rs 7 lakh, went from a quiet showing at the box office to developing a reputation as India's definitive black comedy. Some of the country's finest theatre and film talents all at key stages in their careers participated in its creation, but the journey was anything but smooth. Among other things, it involved bumping off disco killers and talking gorillas, finding air-conditioned rooms for dead rats, persuading a respected actor to stop sulking and eat his meals, and resisting the temptation to introduce logic into a madcap script. In the end, it was worth it. Kundan Shah?s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is now a byword for the sort of absurdist, satirical humours that Hindi cinema just hasn't seen enough of. This is the story of how it came to be despite incredible odds and what it might have been. Jai Arjun Singh's take on the making of the film and its cult following is as entertaining as the film itself.
Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry
As an epigraph to his humane and generous novel Family Matters, Rohinton Mistry uses a reverse version of Tolstoy's words from Anna Karenina--"Each happy family is happy in its own way, but all unhappy families resemble one another". The unhappy family in this book belongs to Nariman Vakeel, an elderly, retired English teacher in Bombay. His stepson Jal and stepdaughter Coomy look after the old man, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, but a street accident renders him even more in need of help. Resentfully Jal and Coomy provide it but, when opportunity offers, they deliver Nariman into the care (and flat) of his daughter Roxana, the much-loved offspring of what was an otherwise loveless marriage. Roxana is married with two children and lives in cramped conditions that the arrival of the now bed-ridden old man makes worse. The tensions of the present and rankling discontents from the past collide as Mistry's narrative unfolds. At the heart of the story is the literal claustrophobia of the flat and the metaphorical claustrophobia of a family bound tightly together by the deeply ambivalent emotions of its members but Family Matters is not a limited or restricted novel.
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Two brothers bound by tragedy. A fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past. A country torn by revolution. A love that lasts long past death. This extraordinary, emotionally riveting new novel, set in India and America, expands the scope and range of one of our most beloved storytellers: the Pulitzer Prize-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Interpreter of Maladies and Unaccustomed Earth.
Born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in the Calcutta neighborhood where they grow up. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. It is the 1960s, and Udayancharismatic and impulsivefinds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement: he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brothers political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America.
But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their familys home, he comes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behindincluding those seared in the heart of his brothers wife.
Suspenseful, sweeping, piercingly intimate, The Lowland is a masterly novel of fate and will, exile and return. Shifting among the points of view of a wide range of richly drawn characters, it is at once a page-turner and a work of great beauty and complex emotion; an engrossing family saga with very high stakes; and a story steeped in history that seamlessly spans generations and geographies. A tour de force and an instant classic, this is Jhumpa Lahiri at the height of her considerable powers.