Its been a while since I updated this blog. I was writing up a short story for the blog, but then the story grew and although complete, it’s far too big for the blog. But I did not want to go for months without keeping this alive, so instead of the story, some random notes:
- Ursula LeGuin: I discovered her thanks to my advisor. The Dispossessed was one of the finest works of fiction that I have ever read in my life. I also went through Lavinia, and although this was excellent writing, I found the novel a bit lacking
- Amitav Ghosh: I am rediscovering Ghosh. I read his Hungry Tide and fell in love with his writing. It was a wonderful story narrated with panache. His previous book that I read, The Glass Palace, failed to captivate me; maybe I was just too young back then to appreciate his writing?
- Mani Ratnam: I saw Roja recently. I remember watching the film when it released in an open-air theatre and some scenes stuck with me — like the opening chase in a forest for example. This time I watched it with a better understanding of cinema. I still liked the film, but not as much as I did the first time around about 20 years ago. Rahman’s background score was pretty pedestrian and loud. He sure has matured with time!
- Anurag Kashyap: Watched/watching Gangs of Wasseypur. I have always admired Kashyap’s ability to narrate off-beat stories with style (Dev D, Gulaal) and this one, in my humble opinion, ranks amongst the best movies from his stable. Hell, its probably one of the best movies ever made in Indian cinema. And Manoj Bhajpai is still an amazing actor. This movie (both parts 1 and 2) are detailed stories of pure brilliance. Hat’s off to the script writer Zeishan Qadri as well!
Also watched his Black Friday. Another amazing film with such strong acting. KK Menon is pure brilliance!
- Khaled Hosseini: Read his first novel The Kite Runner. I had previously read A Thousand Splendid Suns, and did not think much of it. I had seen the movie based off the Kite Runner book and that was ok. The book is very good in the first third and then starts to derail off onto Bollywood melodrama. Far too many coincidences and far too much of in-your-face emotions. It is definitely a tear-jerker and Hosseini can write, but this is not really literature, just some nice on-the-side reading.
- Loreena McKinnet: Discovered her by chance. What a beautiful singer she is and what wonderful music she makes. I love Celtic tunes and she creates ethereal melodies with brilliant use of instruments.
- Pandora: Knew about this app/service but only recently spent some time on it. Got an app for my phone and created some nice stations. I am in love this app. I have discovered so much in a few days. There is so much of good music to discover. Case in point: Kala Ramnath, L. Subramaniam (I knew him of course, but hadn’t heard many of his tracks). My stations are: Hindustani Classical, L.Subramaniam, Loreena McKinnet, Louis Armstrong, Smooth Jazz and Symphonies & Orchestra. Pure heaven this.
That’s it for now.