Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The Ram Gopal Varma of Indian Writing in English
Vikram Chandra is out with his new novel, Sacred Games. The book was released in Bombay and ever since Vikram is travelling the length and breadth of India promoting his new book. I have just read his zillionth interview, not even in a magazine, but on a blog. Though Vikram rocks as a writer (I still remember his brilliant writing in Love and Longing in Bombay), what is the need to give so many interviews? Just a personal opinion because even though he comes across in his interviews smart and sagacious, it often gets repetitious and adds to the reader’s ennui.
Now to the point of the heading. Why am I calling him the Ram Gopal Varma of Indian Writing in English?
My contention is simple. Like RGV, Vikram is also attracted to stories of cops and underworld characters. Both of them are fascinated with the city of Bombay. Both of them are sharp and daring in their presentations. Both of them are frank and outspoken. So there…
Nothing against him or RGV, but it is interesting how Bombay fascinates our writers and filmmakers. Rushdie, Naipaul, and now Vikram—all have written so much about Bombay. And Suketu Mehta has made a career out of this city with his book, Maximum City. His book has given a lot of dignity and humanity to a number of stock in trade Bombaiyya characters like the bhais, the dance bar girls, the pimps, the politicians, et al. Hope Sacred Games does the same and more, in its own unique, fictionalised way.
Though I look forward to reading Sacred Games, its sheer volume is going to be a challenge to me.
PS: Trawling through the reviews of this novel at his website, came across this review by Ashok Banker. He has also likened Vikram’s work to that of RGVs…what a coincidence!