Mukti

Mountains of the Moon – 8

Posted in adventure, books, Chander pahar, fantasy by jrahman on June 18, 2017

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A Bangladeshi superhero

Posted in adventure, Bangladesh, books, desi fiction, history, thriller by jrahman on May 11, 2017

It’s a sun-drenched, ocean-front, posh hotel where the scene is set.  A diabolical fiend is cheating on a game of cards with the aid of an earphone and a skimpily clad assistant with a binocular.

Enter our hero.

Watching the classic scene for the first time all those years ago, my thought was — whoa, 007 ripped off Masud RanaI had read Swarnamriga a few weeks before watching Goldfinger — first Rana novel and Bond flick for the schoolboy who didn’t know the original.  I suspect many Bangladeshis of certain ages would have similar Rana stories to share.

Okay, it is quite possible, likely even, that the typical reader has no idea what I am talking about.  A brief primer from wiki:

Masud Rana is a fictional character created in 1966 by writer Qazi Anwar Hussain, who featured him in over 400 novels.  Hussain created the adult spy-thriller series Masud Rana, at first modelled after James Bond, but expanded widely. …  books are published almost every month by Sheba Prokashoni, one of the most popular publishing house of Bangladesh….

Although there is no superpower as such, his attributes would make a combination of Batman, Bond, and Bourne pale before Rana. Of course, superheroes need supervillains.  Rana’s arch-nemesis is a megalomaniac genius scientist criminal mastermind named Kabir Chowdhury, who’s also a fellow Bangladeshi.  And then there is Israel.  However, it’s his foes from the first decade or so of the series that make for a fascinating political study.

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Game prediction

Posted in adventure, books, Drama, movies, TV by jrahman on August 28, 2016

We are dreaming of Spring here in the antipodes, and thus it’s an appropriate time to make prediction about the Game, by which I of course mean that of Thrones.  Hopefully this is not going to be the last post on the subject.  I am going to stick to the show, not the underlying books, though everyone knows that the printed and screen forms of the story are supposed to culminate at the same end.  I am sure what I have to say has already been written with volumes of analysis, links and graphics — I’ll eschew anything like that.  I trust the interested reader to look up.  This is a self-indulgent post to see how wrong I am in two years.

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Mountains of the Moon — 7

Posted in adventure, books, Chander pahar, classics, fantasy by jrahman on August 3, 2016

Well over a decade ago, I entered a writing challenge with my brothers to scribble 10,000 words in a month.  For this, I started translating Bibhuti Bhushan Bondopadhyaya’s Chander Pahar (Mountains of the Moon) — the action adventure story of a young man from the rural heart of early 20th century Bengal who leaves his East African railway job in search of a diamond mine, and encounters man-eating lions, black mamba, volcanic eruption, Kalahari, cannibals, a mysterious apelike creature that doesn’t fear fire.

I posted the first six chapters between October 2011 and March 2013 — Shankar escapes the rural life to work in the lion territory, and the black mamba station, where he saves the life of an old man with an exciting tale, and they set off for the mountains of the moon. Time to restart the series.

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Prisoner of Jhind

Posted in action, adventure, books, Drama, movies, thriller, Uncategorized by jrahman on November 20, 2015

Good thing you skipped Salman Khan’s new movie.  They made the movie around 14 songs collected over many years. Waste of time!

That’s my brother on the recent Bollywood adaptation of The Prisoner of Zenda.  The lookalike-as-a-plant has been used as a plot device many times, including those starring Bollywood bigshots.  My favourite retelling on pages is the Flashman caper involving the Schleswig-Holstein Question — note to self, must blog about Flashman sometime.

But for the screen, let me recommend the 1961 Bangla adaptation.  Adapted to the Indian settings by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay of Byomkesh fame, the movie contains great visuals of the rugged Central and Western Indian terrain, decade-and-half before Sholay.  Uttam Kumar in the title role is solid, but Soumitra Chatterjee as a villain is sublime — an early cut of his performance in Ghare Baire two decades later.  Oh, there is also a Bengali nationalist twist in the mix.

The best thing about the movie, however, is its music.  Ali Akbar Khan matches the likes of Ennio Morricone.  They just don’t do tunes like that any more.

 

 

 

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On bunyip

Posted in adventure, books by jrahman on May 10, 2015

I guess only a Leone or Coppola could meet my expectations, so I must not be too harsh on Kamal Mukherjee.  He ought to be lauded for taking a chance, but the fact that his adaptation only gets a 6.7 in IMDB tells me that there is room for Bollywood yet.

When that happens, it’s imperative that Bunyip is done right.

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Books

Some time ago, there was a facebook meme about 10 books:

List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They do not have to be the great works of literature, just the ones that have affected you in some way. Tag 10 friends and me so I can see your list.

Over the fold, for archival purposes, are two lists — one general, the other economics related.

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Mountains of the Moon – 5

Posted in adventure, books, Chander pahar, classics, desi fiction, fantasy by jrahman on November 18, 2012

Previously, Shankar escapes the rural life to work in the lion territory, and the black mamba station, where he saves the life of an old man.

The tale of brave Alvarez

Young man, what’s your age?  Twenty-two?  When you were just a toddler, back in 1889, that’s when my story begins.  I was prospecting for gold beyond the forest and the ranges to the north of the Cape Colony.  I was young then, and cared for no danger.

I started from Bulawayo, alone, with two donkeys carrying my luggage.  I crossed the Zambezi, beyond which the maps were marked with the words ‘unknown region’. I’d cross rolling hills, tall grasses, small Bantu villages.  Then eventually Bantu villages became less frequent.  I had reached a place that was never before visited by a white man.

Wherever I saw a river or creek, or a hill, I looked for gold.  How many had become rich in the southern part of Africa with gold or diamond?  I had heard those tales since when I was a little boy.  That’s what I came to Africa for.  But I found nothing in two years of roaming around.  Two years of hardship, and nothing to show for it.  Actually, once I came very close.

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Mountains of the Moon – 4

Posted in adventure, books, Chander pahar, classics, desi fiction, fantasy by jrahman on October 28, 2012

Previously, Shankar escapes the rural life to work in the lion territory, and then at the black mamba station.

Enter Alvarez

Shankar was safe from snakes after that.  But he faced another, more mundane, trouble.  There wasn’t enough water.  What he got from the train was barely enough for drinking, not for a bath.  And with the summer heat, the well dried up.  Then he was told that about three miles to the east there was a small lake, where the water was drinkable, and the lake even contained fish.

Fishing and a proper bath were incentives enough for Shankar to venture eastwards.  He got fishing rods delivered from Mombassa, and a Somali coolie showed him the way.  The lake was actually not that small, with tall grasses around it, and a hillock a few yards away.  There was a lone baobab tree on the hillock.  He enjoyed a long bath and swim — first time in Africa — before fishing for a couple of hours.  He caught a lot of small fish.  He was looking forward to frying them back at the station.  He wanted to stay a lot longer, but duty called.

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সাতকাহন

Posted in adventure, books, democracy, economics, India, institutions, macro, political economy, politics by jrahman on June 22, 2012

Seven trashes collected by the senses.

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