Posts Tagged ‘India’

Mirch Masala on DVD

Mirch Masala

Image from

Mehta, Ketan (Director). (2001.) Mirch Masala. Samrat International.
Call Number: DVD-001487

Mirch Masala [ A Touch of Spice] is a Hindi film released in 1985 and directed by Ketan Mehta.  Starring:  Smita Patil, Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Suresh Oberoi, and Deepti Naval

The film takes place in rural Colonial India during the early 1940′s.  A sleepy village has been shaken by the occasional invasion of the abusive subedar [local tax collector] and his army.  The villagers are expected to turn a blind eye to the army’s pillaging and cater to the subedar’s every whim.  Even the mukhi [village chief] cowers to the subedar’s authority.  Unfortunately for the villagers, the subedar has an insatiable appetite for women and he is not above abusing his power to get what he wants.  In this case the subedar’s eye has fallen on Sonbai, whose husband has gone away to work in the city.  The strong-willed Sonbai refuses his advances and slaps him across the face, running for her life.  She finds apparent safety in the masala karkhana, the mill where local women grind red chillies into powder.  That is, until the men of the village decide that Sonbai should give herself to the subedar in order the save the village from his retaliation.

The film depicts a rural Indian village on the cusp of independence and change.   Their struggles address the injustice of colonialism, Gandhism, the power of education, women’s rights and the community’s need for basic human decency.  Beautifully shot in lush colors, with memorable characters and a delightful dance sequence.  This is not typical Bollywood fair, more of a political drama portrayed in an operatic fairy tale fashion.  Oh, and the greatest moustaches you will ever witness.

Michelle Melancon, Bindery Specialist (Baking With Medusa at Blogspot)

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Adiga, Aravind. The White Tiger. New York : Free Press, 2008.
ISBN: 9781416562597
Call Number: PR9619.4 .A35 W47 2008

Aravind Adiga’s debut novel, winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize, is an angry yet absorbing tale of ambition in twenty-first century India.

The White Tiger follows protagonist Balram Halwai from his village in rural India, known in the novel as “The Darkness,” to the city. Born a member of a caste of sweet makers, Balram finds a position as a personal servant in the rapidly developing India of call centers, air conditioned high rises and shopping malls. The reader follows Balram as he recounts the indignities, sacrifices, schemes and crimes he endures – and perpetrates – along his relatively modest rise.  Balram is an engaging and often hilarious narrator, and his tales of shifting hierarchies and tumultuous power dynamics make for page turning reading. For all of its humor, however, The White Tiger is at its heart a serious look at injustice and poverty. Adiga suggests that while the rapid ascent of India in the global economy of the twenty-first century has its beneficiaries, the cost to the soul of the nation will be very steep indeed.

-Trish Nugent, Special Collections Librarian/Archivist