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Five books to be released in January 2018

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Do not miss out a single chance in reading these books in 2018
Five books to be released in January 2018. wikimedia commons
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New Delhi, Dec 29, 2017: After a significant year for publishing in India, the upcoming month of January in 2018 will set the literary mood for a new beginning. The Jaipur Literature Festival will see the release of several significant books, apart from hosting over 200 sessions that will witness participation from writers and thinkers from across the world. With a lot taking place simultaneously and options as diverse as ever, bookworms have quite a choice to make.

The IANS recommendations for January pares a long list to present the five most promising titles that bookworms must take note of.

Here are the five books that we cannot wait to read this January:

1. “Why I Am A Hindu”, by Shashi Tharoor (Aleph)

In “Why I Am a Hindu”, Tharoor gives us a profound book about one of the world’s oldest and greatest religions. Starting with a close examination of his own belief in Hinduism, he ranges far and wide in his study of the faith. He looks at the myriad manifestations of political Hinduism in the modern era, including violence committed in the name of the faith by right-wing organisations and their adherents. He is unsparing in his criticism of extremist “bhakts”, and unequivocal in his belief that everything that makes India a great and distinctive culture and country will be imperiled if religious fundamentalists are allowed to take the upper hand.

2. “Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb”, by Hassan Abbas (Penguin)

In “Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb”, Abbas profiles the politicians and scientists involved in the development of the country’s atomic bomb and the role of China and Saudi Arabia in supporting its nuclear infrastructure. Drawing on extensive interviews, the book also unravels the motivation behind the Pakistani nuclear physicist Dr A.Q. Khan’s involvement in nuclear proliferation in Iran, Libya and North Korea, and argues that the origins and evolution of the Khan network were tied to the domestic and international political motivations underlying Pakistan’s nuclear weapons project and its organisation, oversight and management.

3. “Small Acts of Freedom”, by Gurmehar Kaur (Penguin)

In February 2017, Gurmehar Kaur, a 19-year-old student, joined a peaceful campaign after violent clashes at a Delhi University college. As part of the campaign, Kaur’s post made her the target of an onslaught of social media vitriol. Kaur, the daughter of a Kargil war martyr, suddenly became the focal point of a nationalism debate. Facing a trial by social media, Kaur almost retreated into herself. But she was never brought up to be silenced. “Real bullets killed my father. Your hate bullets are deepening my resolve,” she wrote at the time. Today, Kaur is doubly determined not to be silent. “Small Acts of Freedom” is her story.

4. “Keepers of the Kalachakra”, by Ashwin Sanghi (Westland)

A seemingly random selection of heads of state is struck down like flies by unnamed killers who work with the clinical efficiency of butchers. Except that they leave no trace of their methods. Sanghi returns with another quietly fearsome tale — this time of men who guard the “Kalachakra” — The Wheel of Time. Sanghi describes a world of people at war with one another — a boomeranging conflict of faiths that results in acts of such slow and planned human cruelty that they defy imagination. Zigzagging from Rama’s crossing to Lanka to the birth of Buddhism; from the charnel-grounds of naked tantric practitioners to the bespoke suits of the Oval Office; and from the rites of Minerva, shrouded in frankincense, to the smoke-darkened ruins of Nalanda, the mystery novel is a journey that will have you gasping for breath.

5. “Diwali in Muzaffarnagar”, by Tanuj Solanki (HarperCollins)

Friendship between two teenage boys dissolves in the aftermath of an act of violence typical of the place they live in — the north Indian town of Muzaffarnagar. A young man comes to the same town to celebrate Diwali with his family and learns that, given his roots, his cosmopolitanism might not be an option any more. A young woman, hitherto unburdened by family duties, grapples with the absence of grief upon her father’s death. Elsewhere, a recently married couple is pulled apart by a crisis rooted in the woman’s traumatic childhood. In Solanki’s book of short stories, young men and women travel between the past and the present, the metropolis and the small town, and the always-at-odds needs of life: Solitude and family. (IANS)

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10 Bollywood movies to binge watch in 2018

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10 Bollywood movies to binge watch in 2018
10 Bollywood movies to binge watch in 2018. IANS

Mumbai, Jan 2, 2018: Like every year, a lot of films are ready to hit the screens in 2018. So, know where to put your money.

Here’s a list of must-see Bollywood films this year:

* “Pad Man”: On January 26, it’s Akshay Kumar, and no one else. I will put my money on this heart-warming saga of Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man who manufactured economical sanitary napkins even at the risk of being belittled.

Here is another man-of-the-masses part for the ever-enterprising actor who never shies away from seeming less than heroic because he knows that the true hero is the one who dares to venture into the unknown even at the risk of stumbling and falling.

“Pad Man” is directed by one of my favourites R. Balki who courts the quirky with compelling credibility.

In “Shamitabh”, it was the Big B giving voice to mute star Dhanush. In “Ki & Ka”, a working wife gets herself a happy house-husband. In “Pad Man”, gender-sensitisation reaches the cyclic level. Yes, it’s that time of the month.

* “Sonu Ki Titu Ki Sweety”: Luv Ranjan is a director who gets into the head and the bed of the young without acting like a twit of a director. His remarkable proclivity for youthful candour is in full view in this wackily-titled rom-com where Sonu’s (Kartik Aaryan) over-possessive best friend Titu (Sunny Singh) gets a girlfriend Sweety (Nushrat Bharucha). It’s a lip-smacking bromance versus romance on February 9.

* “Hichki”: For my money and time, Rani Mukerji doing the role of a teacher with a neurological disability is just what the doctors prescribed. This official remake of a little-known American film “Front Of The Class” is the kind of inspirational story we all need in our lives. Release date is February 23.

* Sanjay Dutt’s biopic: Ranbir Kapoor playing Sanjay Dutt in a film directed by Raj Kumar Hirani is not quite my idea of an inspirational biopic. Nonetheless, this one is of interest for us to know what mistakes one can make in the journey of life. So this can be taken as an inspirational film in reverse. Verdict is on March 30.

* “October”: Titled “October” but releasing in April. A Shoojit Sircar film by any name or in any month smells just as sweet. Sircar teams up with the most successful star of 2017 (not counting Salman Khan) — Varun Dhawan — for what the director describes as the most unusual love story. We can’t wait for April 13.

* “Veere Di Wedding”: The sheer joy of watching a gallery of interesting female actors navigated by Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sonam Kapoor is enough reason to give this ‘chic-flick’ a run for its money. Release date is May 18.

* “Fanne Khan”: A famous singer played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan kidnapped by the father (Anil Kapoor) of a wannabe singer — an extremely unusual premise and a solid project to bring together Aishwarya and Anil Kapoor after “Taal”. Directed by debutant Atul Manjrekar, this remake of a Belgian film promises something unusual. Release date is June 15.

* “Gold”: If Akshay Kumar owns Republic Day, he also exercises a quasi-copyright over the Independence Day week. On August 15, comes “Gold”, a film recreating India’s historic win for hockey at the 1948 Olympics.

Reema Kagti’s film would be a fictional take on what actually happened. The game of hockey would feature prominently in the plot. But there will also be strong human drama playing at the forefront. And it wouldn’t be just the Olympics victory in 1948 we will be looking at. “Gold” will look at 12 crucial years in India’s history. Wow! Can’t wait!!

* “Super 30”: Not kicked by Vikas Bahl’s directorial abilities after seeing the mess he made in “Shaandaar”. But it would be interesting to see the life of the maths genius Anand kumar brought to life on screen by Hrithik Roshan who hasn’t done a biopic before. Releasing on November 23.

* “Zero”: Aanand L. Rai gets together with Shah Rukh Khan for a game changer this Christmas. Crucial for SRK who needs a clutter-breaker. Releasing on December 21.

And of course, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmavat(i)”. (IANS)