Hugo Movie Companion on bookshelves this week

A behind-the-scenes look at Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film Hugo in 3D, is explored in a new book titled The Hugo Movie Companion on bookshelves this week, in time for the film’s release November 23 in North America.

books Updated: Nov 04, 2011 18:51 IST
Hindustan Times

Sleeping with Movie Stars

Gitanjali Kolanad

Penguin Rs 225 pp 175

Karishma Attari

Short stories sometimes feel like orphans, coming out of nowhere with a tenuous foothold in the collection they are in. They flare, incredibly vivid, but that moment, however fully realised, is all they have. Not so with Gitanjali Kolanad’s Sleeping with Movie Stars. She uses the pounce and incandescence of the short story, but sustains a sense of history.

Kolanad traces the life of a Canada- based dancer, who returns to India periodically: at first as an exiled teenager in the 1970s, then as a young woman, and finally, as a wife and mother. As the title suggests, the book talks of her growing sexual awareness as she encounters men, from the stray boy on a motorcycle “with the wild Bob Dylan hair” to the married husband of a friend who presumes too much.

The writing is urbane, unexpectedly clean of all clutter for a first-person narrative. Both native and foreigner, she maintains a cautious distance from experience. It is a curiously clever device. It allows one to appreciate the ebb and flow of her experiences without being unduly caught up in the drama of them. In ‘Sleeping with Movie Stars’, the drummer at Kalakshetra brushes her breasts “with only the merest pretence of accident.” She protests “Sir! Don’t do that,” but “(isn’t) truly angry.” In ‘A Year in Delhi’, she escapes a gang of men, to duck into the Ambassador hotel, where both she and the old doorman pointedly ignore her torn kurta.

‘A Different Lion’, the last story in the collection, serves as a bridge. Practicing the attack-and-defence sequences of kalaripayat in a room with a lion leads to an unsettling encounter. It is reminiscent of a dance performance when the revelation the dancer meant to evoke for the audience was evoked within her. Kolanad’s stories are shot through with the nuances of dance and the awe of unusual revelations.

Karishma Attari is a freelance writer

First Published: Jun 24, 2011 22:10 IST