Reviews

The Entertainment Value of Arranged Marriage

August 27, 2020

Everyone has an opinion about Netflix’s reality dating-cum-wedding show Indian Matchmaking, which follows a handful of singles in India and America as they attempt to find their life partners through an Indian matchmaking service run by “master matchmaker” Sima Taparia. The end goal is a lavish Hindu wedding. The show has been rightly criticized for … Read More

A Burning Is a Political Thriller With a Social Conscience

August 26, 2020

Megha Majumdar’s A Burning, set in and around Kolkata, couldn’t be more topical. Moving with the inevitability of parable, it lacerates the Hindu right-wing by following violence until it reaches its logical endpoint. In A Burning, Jivan, a young Muslim woman, is thrown into jail for her alleged role in a terror attack. Lovely, a … Read More

The Multicultural Bubble of Bollywood’s Qawwalis

August 14, 2020

Since the 1940s, the beginning of the Golden Age of Hindi cinema, the Sufi song form of qawwali has been a prominent feature in Bollywood film. Due to the rich sociocultural and religious history of qawwali in the subcontinent, it is easy, even for South Asians, to picture the qawwali as a solely Islamic sacred … Read More

Good Boys by Megan Fernandes Breaks Open the Shoulds

August 6, 2020

As a book of poetry, Megan Fernandes’ Good Boys presents a prescriptive examination of the self. But as a body with life in it, it shatters what is known by intentionally moving through its own tempers. What does it mean to be good, and who assigns this meaning? In all its messiness, Good Boys lays … Read More

Axone and the Politics of “Kuch Nahin Hota”

July 20, 2020

Released on Netflix last month, Naga filmmaker Nicholas Kharkongor’s Axone (2019) is the first mainstream Hindi movie to address the racism that northeastern migrants face in the Indian capital of New Delhi. Despite its meticulous attention to varying shades of discrimination, the movie betrays itself through a dangerous attitude of “kuch nahin hota” , or … Read More

Dilruba Ahmed Reaches for the Beyond In “Bring Now the Angels”

May 20, 2020

The title Bring Now the Angels is as much a God-like order as a human plea. Dilruba Ahmed’s new book-slash-summoning-slash-prayer reckons with expanse as painstakingly as it does limitation. Throughout, it takes on health, mortality, and immigration with disquieting force. The first section of Bring Now the Angels considers the circumstances surrounding the passing of … Read More

Who’s Ready to Be a Nazranaa Bride?

May 18, 2020

Nestled in a strip mall in Woodbridge, New Jersey, is Nazranaa – the go-to store for South Asian wedding wear. Behind the counter stands Shia Gupta, the owner and designer of the shop, and the face of the popular YouTube series Nazranaa Diaries. Mimicking the style of Say Yes to the Dress, complete with clunky … Read More

The Pandemic Is a Portal, Arundhati Roy on COVID-19

May 4, 2020

Last month Haymarket Books hosted an interview with novelist and activist Arundhati Roy and moderator Imani Perry about the Covid-19 health crisis and its implications across the globe on public health, human rights, and policymaking. The interview explored Roy’s ideas in her widely-quoted essay published in the Financial Times. In it she writes: “Historically, pandemics … Read More

Sopan Deb Makes the Journey in Missed Translations

May 1, 2020

When Philip Larkin wrote his poem “This Be the Verse” in 1971 – which begins with the oft quoted line, “They fuck you up, your mum and dad,” he was staying with his mother in Loughborough, UK at the time. It begs the question: how much of what we inherit (both literally and figuratively) is … Read More

Adeeba Shahid Talukder Brings Urdu and Persian Verses out of Tradition

February 29, 2020

In a word, Adeeba Shahid Talukder’s Kundiman Poetry Prize-winning collection Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved is virtuosic. It sings, thrums with the force of centuries of Urdu and Persian verse. In doing so, it owns the strength of a woman’s voice. In the title poem, Talukder writes, “At December’s end Benazir died / in … Read More

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