BOOKS ABOUT INDIA
Makers of Modern India by Ramachandra Guha (2011) – an anthology of writings by political activists that goes beyond Nehru and Gandhi to paint a more complex picture of recent Indian history.
Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan (2012) by Ahmed Rashid (as yet unfinished by me)
Next up: Sea of Poppies (2008) – Amitav Ghosh
OTHER BOOKS I’VE BEEN READING
Under the Banner of Heaven (2003) by Jon Krakauer – A look at Mormonism and Mormon history through the murder of Brenda Lafferty and her infant daughter Erica at the hands of Ron and Dan Lafferty (Ron was Brenda’s ex-husband). Really interesting, but I can’t help but think it’s decently biased.
Currently Reading: What Never Leaves (2012) by Daniel Tam-Claiborne (hey, I know that guy!) – a collection of short stories of a Shansi fellow in Taigu, China
3 Idiots (2009) – Three engineering students attempt to survive engineering school, and learn about life in the process. Stresses at school/student suicide is an issue that is addressed.
Dil Chahta Hai (The Heart Desires/Do Your Thing; 2001) – Three friends whose outlook on love couldn’t be more different navigate growing up, growing apart, and coming back together.
Dreaming Lhasa (2005) – One of the first Tibetan feature films about the life of Tibetan exhiles in India and one Tibetan-American woman’s drive to see where she fits in as an outsider within.
Kal Ho Naa Ho (Tomorrow May Never Come; 2003) – Love triangles, near death experiences, romance – it’s all there.
Taare Zameen Par (Like Stars on Earth; 2007) – Aamir Khan plays the perfect teacher as he helps a child with learning disabilities to love learning.
Lagaan (Land Tax; 2001) – I’d just like to point out that Wikipedia describes the genre of this film as “epic sports romance drama musical”…they are spot on.
Devdas (2002 version) – A beautiful film that presents itself more like an opera than other Bollywood films I’ve seen. Love, family drama, multiple falls from grace, courtesans, and a little violence thrown in there. Apparently the original is much better though!
Rang De Basanti (Color It Saffron; 2006) – Saffron is the color of independence in India. A British documentary film-maker comes to India to make a film about Indian freedom fighters (based on entries in her grandfather’s diary, who was a general in the British Army). She gets some former university students to act in her film, and over time, despite their religious and cultural differences, they grow to be friends. When their mutual friend dies in a MiG-21 fighter aircraft after it goes down, the seek to avenge his death. The film deals with A lot happens in this film, but it’s great.
Koshish (Try: 1972) – A deaf/mute couple struggle to live a normal life in a world that doesn’t understand them.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (The Brave Hearted Will Take the Bride; 1995) – Also known as simply DDLJ. A girl and a guy fall in love on a European vacation, and once they get back the guy tries to win over the girl’s family so she can marry him instead of the man her father has picked out. A classic, for sure.