By Ashis Nandy
Divided into 4 sections, this ebook tells the tale of India's ambivalent affair with the trendy urban throughout the fantasy of the adventure among the village and town, and the alterations that fable has gone through. It loks on the vicissitudes of the metaphor of trip; profiles numerous heroes as they negotiate the transitions from the village to town and again to the village; and specializes in the psychopathological trip from a poisoned village right into a self-annihilating urban.
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Extra info for An Ambiguous Journey to the City: The Village and Other Odd Ruins of the Self in the Indian Imagination
40. Sailajananda Mukhopadhyay, quoted in Chalacchitralok, October 1963. '' 59 Barua was already a legend when he died. Yet, his immense success as an actor-director failed to camouflage the story of dissipation, disorganization, and injudicious emotional investments that his life had become. He didgive the impression of being a vulnerable, over-protected mother's boy who never grew out of what sometimes goes in India with such vulnerability and protectiona certain non-calculative, self-pitying, adolescent romanticism and self-subversion.
Ray considered Barua's cinema stylized, unrealistic, imitative, dependent on heavy make-up and stilted dialogue. He believed he had learnt nothing from this part of his ancestry. C. Barua is the greatest director till date. I have heard modern-day directors have made very good use of "subjective camera". But they have a long way to go and could have learnt a lot from B a r ~ a . At first, the answer may seem obvious. Ray defined himself in defiance of and in opposition to the worldview Barua and Saratchandra consecrated, and so Ray's self-definition had to include an element of aggressive negation of Barua.
The return to the village was, therefore, never routine. Life in the city had to include a dream of return but, as in any diaspora, the dream's haunting quality came from the tacit realization that it had to remain unfulfilled. For the city was a gamble that one either won or lost and an addiction one never fully abandoned. Even after all its tinsel glitter and psychopathic charms were exposed, it retained its seductive pull. We have also seen how this play with the self was immortalized by the likes of Saratchandra Chattopadhyay, whose middle-brow novels turned it into the grand myth of modern India.
An Ambiguous Journey to the City: The Village and Other Odd Ruins of the Self in the Indian Imagination by Ashis Nandy