21 October, 2020

Mumbai Masala

Chandra and Vakil have penned acclaimed books on the city but have been away too long

Mumbai Masala

HERE come the Mumbai boys, the latest arrivistes of literary fiction, resonating with the post-Rushdie buzz of the Big City which they see as a place where the stories are, a metaphor for all India. They have an engaging, self-possessed cool, a surprising lack of guile and lots of Mumbai bonding. Although their books have distinct voices, and they had never met till the New Yorker shoot in London this summer, their lives throw up some striking parallels. They are also the role models for a new kind of Indian fiction-writer whose work is likeable but not remarkable and whose ambitions make up for lack of focus.

Vikram Chandra is small and bearded, carts a laptop around and comes from a family with film connections. His second book, Love and Longing in Bombay, is a diverting, racy set of interconnected stories about warring society dames, a brooding Sikh cop in sexual overdrive solving a murder mystery, a wrecked gay affair and others. Ardashir Vakil is bigger built, with unmistakable Parsi looks and a faintly echoing broadcaster's voice...



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