Wednesday January 24, 2018

Love, Romance, and fiction

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By Vikas Datta

It is that time of the year again when love and its expression is on everyone’s minds – and makes for a range of spectacles ranging from the touching to grotesquely ludicrous from both those who celebrate Valentine’s Day and those who deride it. But this is a fairly recent social phenomenon, and any serious, fairly wide-ranging reader has already come across any aspect of love that can be conceived – and they don’t have to be aficionados of the romantic genre.

Let alone its role in real life, love, taken here in its most conventional sense of romance, is a fundamental force in literature – and can be seen in various guises and stages that would bewilder the most amorous of us. It often drives the plot (or subverts it), and accounts for quite a bit of motivations of characters and their choices, actions and decisions, even if they are not those directly involved, and can be driving a totally different genre.

Not only the most famous detective in fiction, Sherlock Holmes is also the most noted bachelor, always making light of love – one who “never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer”.

But of the dozen stories in “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” (1892), eight have a motif or motivation of love right from the first (“A Scandal in Bohemia”) to the last (“The Adventure of the Copper Beeches“), especially “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor”, in which Holmes figures out a mystery which is actually a complicated love story but also displays understanding, though being unsuccessful in placating the distressed party.

Holmes can also simulate love well enough when needed, once ending up engaged – to a housemaid – but with an ulterior motive. (“The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton“).

Love can even crop up unexpectedly, and help the protagonist achieve the outcome they were striving for. Was it apparent that a bachelor of the most regular habits and schedule, who embarks on a most singular adventure after accepting a bet at his club, would end up hitched at the end? This also enables him to find out that he has not lost his wager.

Phileas Fogg finds he had succeeded in traveling “Around the World in 80 Days” (Jules Verne, 1873), when he decides to marry Aouda, an Indian princess he had saved from being ritually immolated with her dead husband during his eventful journey, and tries to fix an appointment with a clergyman for the wedding.

“The course of true love never did run smooth,” says a character in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and a break-up between love partners – and the eventual (but not always) reconciliation, is a common component of love stories, and is frequently melodramatic. What if it comes in a way that leaves you in splits?

Say, the hero has left the supposed villain sweltering in a Turkish bath to rescue the heroine he suspects is confined against her will but she doesn’t appear grateful, or the parties make up in a cupboard in which they have been sent as a punishment by their former nurse, who still believes (and treats them) they are children.

For this, we must dip into the hilarious corpus of P.G. Wodehouse. These stories – “A Slice of Life” and “Portrait of a Disciplinarian” respectively – figure in “Meet Mr Mulliner” (1927), where you can also find what atypical actions love can lead you to do in “The Romance of a Bulb-Squeezer”.

And then who is the most successful love champion you could find in fiction? Going by the sheer number of carnal exploits, it is that arch-scoundrel, a cad and lecher, Sir Harry Paget Flashman, a bit player from “Tom Brown’s Schooldays” who gets his own series courtesy George Macdonald Fraser.

At one stage, Flashman, who gets embroiled in almost all major events of the 19th century, counts up his sexual conquests, “not counting return engagements”, and reaches a total of 478 – and at the moment is a dungeon in Gwalior during the 1857 Indian revolt! Since he is is just at a little over a third of his long and eventful life, it must have been considerably augmented, and would include two Indian maharanis, queens of Ethiopia and Madagascar and an imperial concubine who would later become the empress of China. The fictional ones range from assorted noblewomen, African-American slaves, and a daughter of Apache chief Mangas Colorado.

You could find much more extraordinary happening – to paraphrase Shakespeare, there is more in books and stories that can be dreamt in your philosophy. So celebrate Valentine’s Day as you like, but include reading a book. (IANS)

See these excellent collection of Romantic fictions from Amazon

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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

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“Some people’s agenda is to break Indian parliament by 2025 through bombs and ammunition”: Vivek Agnihotri

Through his book, "Urban Naxal", Vivek Agnihotri has raised his voice against anti-nationals and the people who crib against the policies of the government.

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Vivek Agnihotri. Wikimedia Commons
Vivek Agnihotri. Wikimedia Commons
  • Vivek Agnihotri is a Bollywood director
  • “Urban Naxal” and launched it in ‘World Book Fair’ held in Delhi
  • I want to ask Jignesh Mevani, from whom he wants freedom

The controversy related to the movie, “Budhha in traffic Jam” made Vivek Agnihotri a sensation overnight. There were several protests against the movie and there was chaos related to the screening of the movie in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Vivek was even trolled and threatened for his movie but he didn’t dog down and came up with his book.

Recently, Vivek has come up with his new book, “Urban Naxal” and launched it in ‘World Book Fair’ held in Delhi. The publisher of his book is Garuda Publications. Through this book, he has raised his voice against anti-nationals and the people who crib against the policies of the government.

In an exclusive interview with Vikram Khajuria of NewsGram, Vivek expressed his views about the controversies in which he was involved in. He was also congratulated by the NewsGram team on his book launch. Excerpts:

Also Read: Interview with Zaira Wasim: Don’t know if I’ll become full-time actress in future

Question: The book that you have published with Garuda Publication and as this is a new publication, so what are your expectations from this publication. All the books launched today are based on some of the other ideology.

Answer: People should not have expectations from publication; rather it should be from readers. The expectations should be from the people who will buy these books and read them. People are buying books and books are being consumed in India. People should write about India and its problem. It’s an aspect of the country that the Garuda publication is fighting for. That’s why I am standing with them.

Question: The comments that you have recently received on your controversial movie, “Buddha in a Traffic Jam” and the book you have launched today. Is there any connection between both of them?

Answer: Of course yes, because from that movie, I got to know what was going on in this country? Before that, my life was very comfortable and I was making movies with Bollywood stars. With this movie, I got to know that the people who are creating narratives and are trying to break the country.

Also Read: Sexual abuse is everywhere in the world, says Radhika

Question: Your every movie is different from your last movie. You have come from ‘Chocolate’ to ‘Buddha in a Traffic Jam’, so are you trying to set a trend in Bollywood because many successful Bollywood directors have set a particular trend. Prakash Jha has a different style and Sanjay Leela Bhansali has some unique genre. So, is your all the movies are on the same lines?

Answer: I belong to a village and I am from very poor family. I want to learn filmmaking and how will I learn filmmaking, if I will make only comedy or horror films and also without experimenting.

Those people are wealthy enough and as they have enough money. They can carry on with their trends with what their family is doing since long but I have to work out daily. Once I do something, I move on to learn something new. But after ‘Buddha in a Traffic Jam’, the trend has been changed. I am making a film on Shastri Ji and I will keep experimenting.

Vivek Agnihotri has launched his book “Urban Naxal”
The picture is shot by the team of NewsGram

Question: You have openly challenged Jignesh Mevani for an open debate.  So, what do you want to ask him?

Answer: I want to know about his ideologies and from what he wants to get free from. Today India needs freedom from inefficiency, unhygienic and corruption. Does India need freedom from itself only? So, if every state wants from India, where will we live? Will India survive? So, I want to ask him, from whom he wants freedom, why is he so frustrated and what is his problem and what is his vision. If he has some vision, he needs to answer it. So, I want him to answer him on these issues. I know these people very well. These people do not have anything to say. Their only agenda is to break Indian parliament by 2025 by bombs and ammunition. But we people won’t let it happen

Question: In one of your tweets, you have commented on the quality of stand-up comedy in India. Are you targeting everyone?

Answer: If you look at Sharad Joshi and Hari Shankar Prasad, they all write satire. The business of a comedian is to squib on social issues. It should be done by a satirist. They should not be indulged in taunting handicapped people, women, homosexuals, Indian people, people who can’t speak English and always abusing in their conversation.

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 Question: Are you trying to target AIB (All India Bakchod) through your comments?

Answer: I am not targeting anyone and nor do I know about the AIB. But generally speaking, the standards of English stand-up comedians have really gone down, whereas, it should have gone up. The comedians of nowadays are stealing the joke from the western countries and they don’t have anything of their own. The older legends like Jaspal Bhatti and Raju Shrivastava were much better than today’s stand-up comedians.

Question: Do you think that there is such atmosphere in our country that if you do not comply with what other is saying, it means your ideologies are different. Sometimes, our own family members do not comply with our thoughts. So, is it wise to target particular wing and troll them? Sometimes you tend to target politicians and media. What do you want to say about it?

Answer: In this world, if you won’t do that, people will start comparing between fat and small and then they will fight. God has given us such a mind that helps us to make a balance and without it, the world will not prosper. We should utilize it in productive things rather than squandering. People who have the narrative in their hands are all rich and affluent class and they want that we people should keep fighting on such petty issues. The questio  how we are going to deal with the strategy of divide and rule. So, we have to raise our voice against such atrocities and have to come over it.