Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bioscope man

By Indrajit Hazra
Publisher: Penguin India
Pages: 308, Price: Rs 299

Finished reading The Bioscope Man by Indrajit Hazra a few days ago. Mr Hazra writes a weekly column in the daily newspaper The Hindustan Times. The book made for some good reading. When I had spotted this book at my favourite Bookstore, the name Indrajit Hazra sounded familiar. Then I realized I read his column in the Sunday edition of HT.

The start, in particular, was quite funny and hilarious. Though some time the book tended to get dense and I lost track of the going ons. I found the chapters entitled `Interval' which occurs between chapters, quite uncomprehensive and off the track.

The book tells the story of Mr Abani Chatterjee. In fact it is written in the first person and Abani is telling us his story. [bioscope,, informs me means an early form of motion-picture projector, used about 1900.] So it is story about early times of movies, and the story is set at early 1900s, when the movies used to be silent. What I found funny about the story is that Abani Chatterjee, like his fater, is shown to be personal disaster prone, and what happens to him, off the screen, could well have happened in a movie. This particular sequence of Abani meeting his personal and absurd disaster is quite well written and is very funny. Here is an extract `I panicked. Instead of turning the tap off and proceeding to explain matters, I tried to move away from and towards her at the same time. In the process, one of my legs caught the other and fall on her like a lizard that had just lost its grip on the ceiling.'

What I also like about the book, besides its beautiful cover, is the font used in the book. The chapters entitled Interval, had different font, which is also very good. Also the books is typeset in one and half space, which made for easier reading, especially in the train, while commuting, where I read most of this book. I wish all the books had beautiful font and one and half spacing to add to the reading pleasure.

A detailed review of the book, which appeared in the Hindustan Times, is here.

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