Shadow Craft: Visual Aesthetics of Black and White Hindi Cinema (forthcoming, Bloomsbury)
The years between Indian independence (1947) and the dominance of colour cinema (early 1960s) saw the emergence and fruition of a distinct, confident, and nuanced black and white aesthetic in Hindi mainstream cinema. Shadow Craft is an ardent and immersive study of cinematic craftings that emblematise the oeuvres of Kamal Amrohi, Raj Kapoor, Nutan, Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt, and Abrar Alvi.
Vetaal and Vikram is a playful retelling of one of India’s most celebrated cycles of stories. The narrative of King Vikram and the Vetaal is located within the Kathasaritsagara, an eleventh-century Sanskrit text. The Vetaal who is neither living nor dead is a consummate storyteller, and Vikram is a listener who can neither speak nor stay silent. Together they are destined to walk a labyrinth of stories in the course of a moonless night in a cremation ground.
If I Had to Tell It Again (HarperCollins, 2017) is a memoir about a daughter’s difficult love for a flawed, passionate and larger-than-life father. Written in the aftermath of his death, the memoir is a tapestry of conflicting memories of clinical depression, intense togetherness, mourning, healing, and the shattering of spaces between childhood and adulthood.
The Untitled (Fourth Estate, 2016) is a historical novel set against the backdrop of the last war between the British East India Company and Tipu Sultan. It is 1798 and a young British painter, Richard Dawson, arrives on Indian shores seeking to make his fortune. Circumstances lead him to the Mysore country where he meets Mukunda, a temperamental young artist from Tipu Sultan’s capital. As the two artists work together and experiment with Indian and Western styles of painting, they are drawn into a high-stakes political intrigue devised by the imprisoned women of the former royal family of Mysore and the elusive Suhasini. Soon their art will decide the outcome of the last Anglo-Mysore war.
Is it possible to be an artist without creating works of art? And if one is that artist, then is it possible to survive in an unsympathetic world which believes otherwise?
Birdswim Fishfly (Rupa Publications, 2006) explores the life and perspective of Aditi, an unconventional girl growing up in an enigmatic household where being individualistic is painful, secrets have to be protected at any cost, and love constantly plays its unseen hand. Memory and imagination unravel seamlessly in this story of a young woman’s courage and ingenuity as she rediscovers her identity in a world where birds swim and fish fly.
Maya (Indialog Publications, 2003) is the story of a young girl with endless questions who lives in a house by the sea, a grandfather who talks to the dead, a legendary treasure, a mismatched marriage and a family trapped in a whirlpool of passions. The house by the sea is disturbed and something unspoken is slowly breaking its stony heart.
A gentle tale of desires, illusions and fantasy, the book is a journey into the depths of human nature.