Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sacred Games

Below is a post of mine in one of the orkut communities in a thread related to Sacred games. I had initially of thought of writing this directly on my blog but thought it will be better to put it in discussion.

I have just started reading "Sacred Games" and it has been amazing till now. The central characters of the book, Ganesh Gaitonde (an underworld don) and Sartaj Singh(a police inspector) are very interesting. A distinctive point about the style is the use of Indian languages, especially local slangs, without hindrances like italics, footnotes etc. This adds an extra punch to the narrative.You can read more about the book including reviews here[http://sacredgames.typepad.com].
There's another point I’d like to raise in concern with the book, which I would like to generalize to any work of function.There is a context in the book, where a police officer(Sartaj Singh) is searching a woman's house, trying to seek out some clues as well as her black money. Here author writes and I quote,"...Hema Malini and Meena Kumari and a half-dozen other heroines had been caught with cash in their loos."
I am not in any way concerned about Meena Kumari or for that matter any heroine's image albeit I did try to verify this, at which I was unsuccessful.
The point I'd like to make is does fiction writing give the author a free hand to disparage any celebrated figure, living or dead. Also has writing something sensational or something outrightly deriding become an easy way to publicize your work. This second part doesn't concern "Sacred Games" because it was published way back in 2006,and I don't think Vikram Chandra had any such intentions.
I personally take a lot of pride in calling myself a libertarian but I do feel use of such techniques like unnecessarily maligning somebody,a little repulsive.Any thoughts on this?

2 Voices:

Vidooshak said...

This is a double-edged sword. Some writers would use sensationalism merely to sell their book. Others may use it to sell the 'idea'. In case of the latter, the use may be justified.

There's this book called "American Tabloid" by James Ellroy. He writes about JFK, J Edgar Hoover and Jimmy Hoffa as if narrating a sleazy account of fictional characters. But these were real people with real, though unproven, scandals behind them. The sensational context in this book does "appear" to be true but it may not be. Did Ellroy have the right to defame these characters with such impunity?

Given how no one seems to have banned the book yet, I guess so... And it hasn't affected the public opinion on these leaders in any way, too!

anubhav said...

@vidooshak: fair enough.Thanks for the info on James Ellroy.Will check that out.