Childhood Crushes – I: Nafisa Ali In ‘Junoon’

I was eleven years old when I saw Nafisa Ali, then all of eighteen years old, play the part of Ruth Labadoor in Shyam Benegal‘s 1978 art-house classic Junoon–Ruth is a young Englishwoman, living on an English military cantonment in colonial India with her family. As the Indian Mutiny of 1857 breaks out, Ruth’s familyContinue reading “Childhood Crushes – I: Nafisa Ali In ‘Junoon’”

The Bollywood War Movie And The Indian Popular Imagination  

In 1947, even as India attained independence from colonial subjugation, war broke out in Kashmir as guerrillas backed by Pakistan sought to bring it into the Pakistani fold. That war ended in stalemate after intervention by the UN. Since then, the fledgling nation of India has gone to war four more times: first, in 1962,Continue reading “The Bollywood War Movie And The Indian Popular Imagination  “

Wanted: Moar Philosophers in Bollywood

A few days ago, a delightful oddity began making the rounds: a clip of Bertrand Russell in a Bollywood movie.  The background for this clip is straightforward even if improbable: The year was 1967. Russell was by then a very frail 95-year-old man. Besides finishing work on his three-volume autobiography, Russell was devoting much ofContinue reading “Wanted: Moar Philosophers in Bollywood”

The Sunday Evening Movie, Blues-Killer Sans Pareil

It’s a strange business to have written about ‘The Sunday Evening Blues‘ on this blog, in such plaintive fashion, because for many years, Sunday evening was the time of the week that promised a very particular form of entertainment: the Sunday evening movie, for many years, an institution in the life of any Indian householdContinue reading “The Sunday Evening Movie, Blues-Killer Sans Pareil”

Baltimore Dispatches: The Cask of Amontillado and the Terrors of Immurement

This Columbus Day weekend, I am ensconced in Baltimore, which has meant that, among other things, my thoughts turned to Edgar Allan Poe, the city’s most distinguished literary son, one of a select group of writers whose work I was first exposed to via comic books, and someone who, to put it mildly, gave meContinue reading “Baltimore Dispatches: The Cask of Amontillado and the Terrors of Immurement”