Reformed (though that’s debatable) junkie and odd jobs man Smith travels to India to escape some problems at home and has all sorts of drug and bacteria induced adventures. If you want a book that gives you insights into India, don’t bother with this one, this is really about Smith and his equally wanky hippy pseudo-Hindu new age friends. It could just as easily have been set in Bali, Thailand, Laos, Crete, etc At first I thought the title might indicate a new take on India but in reality it’s just offensive and the whole book shows little attempt at trying to make sense of India. It’s all a pity really because his writing is not that bad and in amongst all the blabbing he seems to be quite intelligent. 20/100
Anurag Kashyap is one of the more innovative and clever directors in India. I recently watched two of his films, That Girl in Yellow Boots and No Smoking.
No Smoking is a very smart film. A chronic smoker finally realizes the effect smoking is having on his life when his wife leaves him. He is referred by an acquaintance to a mysterious clinic that has a very unorthodox way of stopping you smoking… This was a truly wonderful and bizarre film and is highly recommended. Lots of eccentric characters, surprises and shocks, and a great performance by John Abraham. 79/100
That Girl in Yellow Boots is one of those frustrating films where there are just so many holes in the plot that it ruins the film. The premise is good, and it is worth viewing to see an Indian director pushing the boundaries, but is spoilt by too many things that just don’t make sense, for example why is an obviously well off and educated girl working in a Mumbai massage parlour ? And I am sure there are better actresses around than Kalki Koechlin. 50/100
Full marks though to Kashyap for challenging Bollywood with some thought provoking film making.