NaMaSaKi and Attractive Indian Novelists

Went to watch the new movie from director Mira Nair based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel the Namesake. When somebody asked the person I was about to watch the movie with what we were going to watch, she replied (assuming that the title must also sound Indian): the Namasaki (pronouncing it Na-ma-sa-ki).
I found this very amusing – as I am sure would Jhumpa Lahiri.
Speaking of whom, I recall seeing an author’s photo of her on the back of her collection of short stories (The Interpreter of Maladies) and finding her very attractive. Apropos, she is not the only Indian woman of letters I find attractive – I have had a similar platonic attraction to Arundhati Roy, and separately, to her name. I think that reading her first novel (The God of Small Things) a few years back was my first significant literary experience since coming to America. Since the time that I was homebound in my rural childhood in Afghanistan and found books a medium of escape, my approach to reading literature had changed. After the winter that I read The God of Small Things, I have once again sought refuge in novels.

Back to The Namesake then. I have not read the book, despite resolving to many times. I did read most of the stories in The Interpreter of Maladies, and there was one that I was reminded of while watching The Namesake tonight. The short story is titled: “The Final Continent” – a very apt title that I found very thought provoking. Very similar themes with the novel The Namesake. Mostly the student who travels to America, and is followed by his Indian wife, and the rest. I remember reading the stories on a train ride to Chicago last summer, where I met an ABCD majoring in philosophy who was a fellow admirer of Jhumpa Lahiri (her work and her looks), and of Kal Penn (he also looked a lot like him and I told him this, which he found to be “the best compliment) – but that was Chicago, and I had an interesting time there, and more on that some other time, after our relation of trust if further established…

Unfortunately we could not finish the film tonight. I will have to watch the movie again, and I am yet again looking forward to it -this time with someone else who I am certain will appreciate it more, and this time perhaps we can watch it to the very end.
Kal Penn has come a long way. Today I read that he will be teaching two classes at UPenn in the coming semester.

But the act that I was completely taken by in tonight’s movie was that of Tabu. I recall seeing her face first on a postcard some years back in Pakistan. Then she dropped like a ton of bricks from the bollywood movie scene. In Namesake she plays a mother, and I don’t know what they said about Aishwarya Rai, in Namesake Tabu proves that she is the quintessential Indian woman. There is no forced glamor in her role, no unnecessary adornments of character or physique – she is so natural and subtle.

The dark circles around the eyes – some say they indicate sickness, but I know women who have it all their lives and are healthy (and no, it is not make-up.) I find this imperfection immensely beautiful, and a tad indicative of tragedy, which only adds to the aura and the mystique of eastern beauty. Irrfan Khan, whom I have may seen in other movies but do not remember, also delivers powerfully.
I cannot wait to watch this movie again, this time to the end.

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~ by safrang on April 15, 2007.

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