Pausing briefly, Mr Chaudhuri, the earnest poet, dismisses any possibility of Bollywood containing “artistic value”. And then the critic recollects himself, and Mr Chaudhuri reflects that, “of course”, the idea of artistic value is meaningless these days.
Here's on his take on Indian literature and postmodernism:
Post-modernism, writes Mr Chaudhuri, is “polyphony; the conflation and confusion of fantasy with history”, a “rhetoric of excess, plenty and a relentless engulfing inclusiveness”, which has been the context for Indian writers since the 1981 publication of Salman Rushdie’s babbling narrative, “Midnight’s Children”.
An exhausting theorist, Mr Chaudhuri likens this and the Indian literature that has followed it—with all its variety and interconnectedness—to globalisation. Literary merit, he says, has become synonymous with commercial value; “today’s writers are stocks and shares”. Here, the poet in Mr Chaudhuri asserts himself: “The triumphal narrative of Indian writing”—perhaps even including Mr Rushdie’s feted trickery—“bores me, personally speaking, as a reader and writer.”
Thought-provoking, isn't it?