‘Erotic yet sensitive’


Actor, writer and director Karan Razdan who works for Bollywood is one of the creative talent who voted for Goa as part-home. He is famous for direct films with controversial themes like Girlfriend (2004), Hawas (2004), Souten: The Other Woman (2006) and also wrote and directed the hit TV series of the mid-1980s Rajani.

He talks with FREDERICK NORONHA about his new book Tantra and Tantrika, which could get a Goa release too soon.

Q: Your first book, so how difficult and challenging was it? Why?
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It was difficult. I am so used to writing screenplays. A two hour screenplay is easier to reign in, control… But a book is a totally different ball game. It’s too vast and it takes time to get a grip over it. My editor Shubha Saha was a big help. She is a journalist and a realist. She would chop down some chapters and I would fight and put some of it back again. It was tough but a very fascinating process.

Q: Does your reputation as a scriptwriter, etc help or hinder being an author?
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Obviously it helped. When I was in college and wrote short stories, I would send it to all the leading newspapers. But they would all come back with a rejection slip. So… yes, now that I am a established writer and director, getting a publisher was the easiest part. Shray Jain, my publisher was very supportive. Continue reading “‘Erotic yet sensitive’”

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From brick and mortar to pages and ink


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By Frederick Noronha

THIS IS such an unusual, optimistic, upbeat story that it almost sounds too good to be true. But when Gerard da Cunha, the Godhra-born architect of Goan origin, sheds his inhibitions and tells you the story of his forays into publishing, the candour of his tale hits you hard. You had better believe it!

The other day, Cunha did the same at the PublishingNext 2013 conference in Goa. He’s a man who has achieved a lot in the field of architecture nationwide, and therefore it comes as a surprise that he’s covered so much ground in publishing too.

“Being an architect, practising in Goa, about 12-14 years ago, I felt it was my duty to come out with a book on Goan architecture. So very idealistically, I started writing the book. I got co-authors in place, and a photographer. Then I tried to look for a publisher. I had spent a lot of money already, a lot of effort. Others said it was not feasible. It would take two years to do, and if we could find some sponsors, then it might work out.”

Gerard came back to Goa, completely disappointed, as he puts it, and started contacting the printers. Gerard points to his slick coffee-table book ‘Houses of Goa’ that resulted from all this effort. But, we’re moving ahead of ourselves in the story.

Some 4000 copies would cost Rs 18 lakh, he was told by the printers. Co-incidentally, he got sponsorship for an exhibition on the same topic. He says he offered the book — “I didn’t even have a dummy at that time” — at the exhibition. While its price would be Rs 1400 after publication, his pre-print offer was a sharply discounted Rs 875 (or even less, for bulk orders). “With no book around, I sold about 300 copies of this book,” recalls Gerard, with a mild chuckle. Continue reading “From brick and mortar to pages and ink”

Understanding the book, and how it was shaped in the past


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By Frederick Noronha

The history of the book? What’s that, I can hear you asking. This might be a new term to many of us, given that the field is itself quite nascent. For instance, the academic journal ‘Book History’ was established only in 1998. In India, just two universities — Jadhavpur and Pune — seem to be seriously involved in work in this field. It has only recently been seen as an important field for study.

The history of the book is broadly defined as “the history of the creation, dissemination, and reception of script and print”. In a simpler language, it deals with the ‘back story’ of the book. What all was involved in making a book, into a book.

Recently, the University of Pune held an interesting seminar (in late September 2013) in this field. It was called ‘Journey of the Book: From Manuscript to Digital’, and looked at a wide range of subjects indeed.

Historians looked at ‘the book as history’. Others focussed on manuscripts in Puranic texts, contestations over the Bible in India, and Tamil texts from its Palmyra leaves times.

Dr. Rajan Barrett, a friend of Goan issues who traces his roots to Mangalore, spoke on ‘The Bible: Reception, Rejection, Contestations and Reformulation in India’. When we met up later, Dr. Barrett mentioned that he had started out life in academia in the field of Mathematics, but moved quite drastically to another field like English.

To me, the most interesting paper was the animatedly-presented one by Dr. Abhijit Gupta (Jadhavpur) called ‘Darogar Daptar, or the Strange Case of the Non-Existent Books’. Gupta looked at the fictional stories of a retired police officer of another (the 19th) century. The officer talks about some five book-related scams, involving a single unsucessful writer, in the Battala area of north Calcutta, once the heart of the book market in Bengal. The stories were fascinating; but more than that, it also reminded one how much certain parts of the country — like the Bengalis — love their books. Continue reading “Understanding the book, and how it was shaped in the past”