Novel route Animal farm Cool cameo Beware, pols! Lit writ

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 4.07.10

Novel route

Is it time to say move over Chetan Bhagat? Well, one doesn’t know about that, but plenty of IITians are following the trail that Bhagat blazed with his super successful novel Five Point Someone. Take Saumil Shrivastava, who has just penned a book called A Roller Coaster Ride. The BTech from IIT Bombay says he had started dreaming about writing a novel while pursuing his engineering degree. But it was only after he met Mili, his future wife, that he actually began to work on A Roller Coaster Ride, which is a love story about an IIT boy and Bits (Birla Institute of Technology and Science) girl. Though his wife is not a “Bitsian” or even a techie, for that matter, Shrivastava says he was inspired by many real life incidents in his college days. At this rate the IITs could soon be known not just as fine technology institutes, but also as happy breeding grounds for future novelists.

Animal farm

There’s good news for all those who love animals and good writing. Gerald Durrell, the British writer-naturalist-conservationist-zookeeper-television presenter, who wrote such hugely popular books as My Family and Other Animals, is being celebrated over July and August with a festival titled Wonderful World of Gerald Durrell. This year happens to be Durrell’s 85th birth anniversary and publishing house Westland has tied up with bookstores like Oxford, Landmark, Reliance and Crossword to celebrate the event. On offer are almost any Durrell title you want, including three books that are being released in India for the first time — Bafut Beagles, The New Noah and Ark’s Anniversary. It’s enough to make any Durrell aficionado drool.

Cool cameo

All those who thought that Amitabh Bachchan was only interested in feathering his nest with multiple crore fees, think again. In a burst of friendship and philanthropy, the Big B has decided to do a role for free. He will appear in a cameo in a Malayalam movie directed by southern superstar Mohanlal — and he will do it gratis. The offer for the yet-to-be-titled project came to Amitabh when he went to Kerala to attend the celebration of sound technician Resul Pookutty’s Oscar victory last year. And Big B just couldn’t say no to his favourite actor Mohanlal. Just shows that even in Bollywood at times sentiment does score over money.

Beware, pols!

If you’ve ever felt like abusing politicians for their incompetence and corruption, this could well become your anthem. Like Akshay Kumar, you too could holler “Bullshit!” at them. Kumar, who recently shot the controversial song in director Priyadarshan’s latest venture Khatta Meetha, plays an honest road contractor who is disgusted with corrupt politicians and their false promises. When they make speeches, he says that he is allergic to bullshit! Director Priyadarshan says that he wanted to use the word because it was more hard hitting than something like, say, bakwaas or “rubbish”. And he is betting that the censor board won’t clamp down on the song, because, the word “bullshit” happens to be in the dictionary. Well, we hope he is right — and that the song won’t hit the theatres with that key word replaced by something anaemic like “nonsense”.

Lit writ

Talk about keeping up with the Joneses. Even those who are dead or out of power. M. Karunanidhi, the 86-year-old chief minister of Tamil Nadu, had never hosted a literary conference — unlike the late ADMK chief M.G. Ramachandran and the current party supremo J. Jayalalithaa. Well, that particular gap in Karunanidhi’s CV was set right when President Pratibha Patil inaugurated the World Classical Tamil Conference in Coimbatore recently. The chief minister was so determined to make the event a success that he moved the entire state machinery to Coimbatore. That’s not all. He even wrote the theme song for the conference, which was set to tune by none other than A.R. Rahman. Wonder what Amma will do to go one up on that if and when she is back in power in Tamil Nadu.