Friday, April 27, 2007

Shantaram



Finally..finally..read the much talked about shantaram..after of course the whole world was done talking about it. It definitely was a great book. it took forever to finish, but there wasn't a single part where i was bored. its amazing how someone who's not from bombay can write so passionately about the city. and it wasn't just bombay..the mannerisms he described were applicable to people all over india! he's such a keen observer and little things that we so take for granted have amazed him. really interesting to read all that!
one particular part that i enjoyed reading was the part where he travels by the local train for the first time. it totally reminded me of all my train travels. it was really nostalgic. his description of the whole scene was perfect, as expected, and i dont think any one could have described it better than he did.
if you are reading this review and you STILL havent read shantaram (i'll be glad that i am not the worst ever!)..you definitely have to go and pick it up immediately.. you're not going to put it down fast, i can assure you, but its a real experience.
For the uninitiated, shantaram is a novel by gregory david roberts, a convicted australian bank robber and heroin addict who escapes from prison and finds himself in bombay and later moves to afganistan,etc. the novel is based on his own life. its not just a narrative.. throughout the book, there are these little philosophical interludes that blend into the story. i am not too much of a philosophy person, i really did enjoy reading it in the context of the book.
the main characters in the book are really intense. unknowingly, you get totally get absorbed into the book. you begin to look forward to prabakar's entries coz they definitely bring a smile to your lips and you start admiring abdel khader khan, you cry when something sad happens (Atleast i did)..and when you are finally done with the book, you miss them all. i definitely missed the book and characters for weeks after i was done with the book. i did feel drained enough and i couldnt read another book for a while..but it was really worth all that!
the movie can never ever do justice to the book because the best part of the book is not the story, but the way the story has been told and i dont think any movie can capture the essence of that. so i am not really looking forward to the movie..but i think i'll watch it anyways.sometimes looking back at the book i wonder if it had been shorter, would it have had the same impact? was the deep bonding you felt with the book partly because of its length and the time you took to complete it?? i dont know..
it definitely wasnt as boring as "a suitable boy" though.. that book bored me to death and i couldnt wait for it to get over..this was definitely different..
in short, i think i liked it:) not a "best book i EVER read" category.. but definitely nice!:)

3 comments:

Style Guru said...

Hey - I just finished shantaram myself ... it took forever to finish so I bunched it up with another non-fiction book! I didnt really cry through any parts (that was reserved for the Kite Runner!) but loved his life - so much to learn from it. I hope Johnny Depp is able to do justice to the role of Shantaram ... much of which will be lost in the short feature length film .. like you rightly mentioned!

Ramya said...

i know.. i dont really want to watch the movie.but i am sure i'll watch it and then crib about how they left out ALL the important parts:) you read the kite runner too?? how did you like that???

sarba said...

hey ramya i agree with you on one thing..I will watch the movie and crib abt what has been left out. I also beleive it is not really possible to actually bring the beauty of this book on screen. But I really could not help imagining how Amitabh would be enacting some of the scenes. The role seemed to be just made for him. Would be an extension of his act in Sarkar.

@ to style guru
n there are emotional moments in the book that u can enjoy if you let yourself ...