Political love

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 4.07.10

She is a true diva. She came well beyond the appointed hour. Clad in a blue salwar kameez with a bandhni dupatta, lips dark and glossy and hair cascading down, Tollywood siren Rituparna Sengupta was all apology as she stepped inside. “I was shooting in Agarpara,” said the light-eyed actress.

Of Love and Politics, Tuhin A. Sinha’s latest offering published by Hachette, had its first nationwide launch in Calcutta on the 35th anniversary of Emergency on June 25, with Rituparna and novelist Rimi B. Chatterjee attending the Oxford Bookstore event.

Tuhin read out a small passage on the Emergency. “Though the Emergency does not figure in the novel there are fleeting references to it,” said Sinha.

Of Love and Politics is a novel on three GeNext Indian politicians belonging to rival political parties. So there is a BJP MP and a CPM girl who meet at a television studio and sparks fly.

“But by the next morning they are on a different equation altogether,” said the author. Chatterjee, a novelist, said: “The ending, I think, somehow runs out of steam and there are long conversations that could have been edited.”

But why Rituparna to launch a book? For the glamour quotient, of course. Fiction is moving fast beyond words. It smells suspiciously good

Funny and Funnier, an anthology of 10 hilarious stories written in Bengali by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and translated into English by Palash Baran Pal and Abhijit Gupta, was launched on June 18 at Oxford Bookstore in the presence of the author.

It was a happy evening. Pal, a writer and a translator, said there was a priceless treasure of children’s literature in Bengali that needed to be translated. The temptation of reliving the charm of Shirshendu’s stories once again drove Pal to translate them.

Co-translator Abhijit Gupta, who teaches English at Jadavpur University, said he was a major fan of Shirshendu’s works since childhood, but pointed out the challenges of translating colloquial Bengali into English. “Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s stories have a deceptive simplicity about them, much like R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi tales. They offer a lot of scope for imagination,” he said.

The translators read out excerpts from some of the stories such as The Smell is Suspicious (“Gondho ta khub shondehojonok”) and the adventures of detective Barada Charan with the audience bursting into peals of laughter.

Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay confessed to having been extremely mischievous as a child and said much of the inspiration for his stories came from his childhood spent in the village, amidst trees, ponds and “friendly ghosts”. Here’s to naughty children and great future writing.

The book, published by Scolastic, is priced at Rs 120. Uma Krishnaswamy has done the illustrations and the cover design.

(Contributed by Anasuya Basu and Ahana Chaudhuri)