Seen the movie, now read the book

A collection of books about India and its people that have inspired cinematic renditions
The Namesake
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The Namesake

by Jhumpa Lahiri

About the book:  An incisive portrait of the immigrant experience follows the Ganguli family from their traditional life in India through their arrival in Massachusetts in the late 1960s and their difficult melding into an American way of life, in a debut novel that spans three decades, two continents, and two generations. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Interpreter of Maladies. Reprint.

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Guide, The (Modern Classics)
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Guide, The (Modern Classics)

by Pico Iyer R. K. Narayan

About the book:  ‘The best of R.K. Narayan’s enchanting novels’—The New Yorker Raju, a corrupt tourist guide, together with his lover, the dancer Rosie, leads a prosperous life before he is thrown into prison. After release he rests on the steps of an abandoned temple when a peasant passing by mistakes him for a holy man. Slowly, almost reluctantly, he begins to play the part, acting as a spiritual guide to the village community. Raju’s holiness is put to the test when a drought strikes the village, and he is asked to fast for twelve days to summon the rains. Set in Narayan’s fictional town, Malgudi, The Guide is the greatest of his comedies of self-deception. ‘A brilliant accomplishment … Narayan is the compassionate man who can write of human life as comedy’—The New York Times Book Review ‘Narayan is such a natural writer, so true to his experience and emotions’—V.S. Naipaul

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Tamas
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Tamas

by Bhisham Sahni

About the book:  Translated by the author 'Tamasdrove the point home that ordinary people want to live in peace' The Guardian Set in a small-town frontier province in 1947, just before Partition, Tamas tells the story of a sweeper named Nathu who is bribed and deceived by a local Muslim politician to kill a pig, ostensibly for a veterinarian. The following morning, the carcass is discovered on the steps of the mosque and the town, already tension-ridden, erupts. Enraged Muslims massacre scores of Hindus and Sikhs, who, in turn, kill every Muslim they can find. Finally, the area's British administrators call out the army to prevent further violence. The killings stop but nothing can erase the awful memories from the minds of the survivors, nor will the various communities ever trust one another again. The events described in Tamas are based on true accounts of the riots of 1947 that Sahni was a witness to in Rawalpindi, and this new and sensitive translation by the author himself resurrects chilling memories of the consequences of communalism which are of immense relevance even today.

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The Blue Umbrella
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The Blue Umbrella

by Ruskin Bond

About the book:  As soon as Binya saw the beautiful blue silk umbrella she wanted it She wanted it so badly that she was willing to give her lucky leopards claw pendant in exchange No-one in the village had such a fine umbrella and everywhere Binya went the umbrella went too Gradually it faded to a pale blue and was patched in several places but there was still many who envied Binya her treasured possession And the most envious of them all was old Ram Bharosa the shopkeeper who decided that by some means he must own the blue umbrella.

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English, August
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English, August

by Upamanyu Chatterjee

About the book:  Agastya Sen, the hero of English, August, is a child of the Indian elite. His father is the governor of Bengal. His friends go to Yale and Harvard. He himself has secured a position in the most prestigious and exclusive of Indian government agencies, the IAS. Agastya's first assignment is to the town of Madna, buried deep in the provinces. There he meets a range of eccentrics worthy of a novel by Evelyn Waugh. Agastya himself smokes a lot of pot and drinks a lot of beer, finds ingenious excuses to shirk work, loses himself in sexual fantasies about his boss's wife, and makes caustic asides to coworkers and friends. And yet he is as impatient with his own restlessness as he is with anything else. Agastya's effort to figure out a place in the world is faltering and fraught with comic missteps. Chatterjee's novel, an Indian Catcher in the Rye with a wild humor and lyricism that are all its own, is at once spiritual quest and a comic revue. It offers a glimpse an Indian reality that proves no less compelling than the magic realism of Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy.

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Pinjar
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Pinjar

by Amrita Pritam

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Q & A
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Q & A

by Vikas Swarup

About the book:  Arrested for unbelievably answering all twelve questions on the Indian game show, "Who Will Win a Billion?" semi-literate waiter Ram Mohammad Thomas explains to his lawyer how he knew the answer to each question due to events in his personal life, from a past meeting with a zealous Australian army colonel to his tour guide job at the Taj Mahal. A first novel. 35,000 first printing.

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Chokher Bali
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Chokher Bali

by Rabindranath Tagore

About the book:  Mahendra is besotted with his wife Ashalata. Binodini, a young widow of exquisite beauty and sparkling mind, comes to live in his house. The intense love between Mahendra and his wife inflames Binodini's repressed sexuality. She manages to captivate Mahendra. At another level, the story is an interplay between three women, Mahendra's mother Rajalakshmi, Ashalata and Binodini.

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Umrao Jan Ada (Disha)
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Umrao Jan Ada (Disha)

by Mirza Mohammad Hadi Ruswa

About the book:  This poignant story of a courtesan named Umrao Jan takes us back to the golden period in the history of the city of Lucknow. The novel was a thunderous success when it first appeared almost a century ago, and still continues to attract readers. It has been made into a motion picture.

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