Slice of Pi

A classic never exhausts of all it has to tell its audience

A number of Indians, from the parliamentarians to the good people of Pondicherry, went into paroxysms of delight when Ang Lee was awarded the Oscar for Best Direction for Life of Pi. And when the auteur folded his hands in a namaste at the end of his acceptance speech, many desis let out a whoop of joy and promptly appropriated his Academy Award as their own.

Making a cinematic jewel out of a notoriously "unfilmable" novel, Ang Lee proved yet again why he is regarded a filmmaker at the top of his game. Be it movies as diverse as Sense and Sensibility, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Brokeback Mountain, this Taiwan-born director delivers quality cinema consistently.

I, for one, would love to see Deepa Mehta and Salman Rushdie accepting a golden statuette for Midnight's Children but unfortunately, the transliteration of Rushdie's literary masterpiece onto celluloid failed to live up to expectation.

When I first read Midnight's Children 30 years ago, I was enthralled by Rushdie's audacity, his facility with language and the sheer scale and scope of his tome. Rushdie wrote poignantly on the pain of the Partition and the fatuousness of communal disunions.

In 1993, Midnight's Children was famously awarded the Booker of Bookers, adjudged the best novel to have won the coveted prize over a 25-year period. It was also in this year that bomb blasts and communal riots devastated Mumbai. Though the city survived the trauma, the scars remained. Something, however, changed irrevocably in the city and its inhabitants after the secular fabric had been ripped.

Rereading Rushdie, it became clear to me that Mumbai belongs equally to those who built it with their enterprise and acumen. It is not the turf of local sectarians

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