Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Kamleshwar's Book Launched

New Delhi, March. 25 (PTI): A translated collection of short stories by renowned Hindi writer Kamleshwar that deals with subjects like prostitution, politics, love, marital discord, pride and passion was released here, on 23rd March 2007.

In the 15 stories that are compiled into "Not Flowers of Henna" -- translated into English by Jai Ratan and published by Katha -- Kamleshwar stresses on positive lessons for mankind to reconstruct the society and its norms.

The book was released on Friday by well-known Hindi fiction writer Krishna Sobti.

After the release, writers and critics remembered Kamleshwar as a great author whose stories "depicted trials and tribulations of a fast changing society that looked for new values in the wake of collapse of the old value system". "Not Flowers of Henna" includes Kamleshwar's most famous story "Kitne Pakistan?"

Kamleshwar -- Sahitya Akademi award winner in 2003 -- and Sobti are among more than 30 authors whose works are featuring in the five-day Paris Book Fair that began on Friday.
Related Links @

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Vijay Tendulkar

This selection, containing lectures by Tendulkar and essays on his works by scholars and critics, is an insight into his creative intellect as a writer willing to take on society and its conscience-keepers!

The First City Magazine
(December 2001)

“Well compiled and published, this book does a good job of presenting one of the greatest icons of modern Indian theatre and film.”

The Pioneer
(January 19, 2002)

“ A book which, as the cover claims, is an attempt to provide an insight into the creative intellect of Tendulkar’s mutifaceted personality, is certainly worth reading for a student and critic of the palywright.”

“ Vijay Tendulkar provides great insight into the creative genius of the multifaceted playwright.

(December 15, 2001)

“A commendable publication from Katha.”
The author
Vijay Tendulkar

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Geeta Dharmarajan
Category: Katha ALT Series
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 152 pages
ISBN 81-87649-17-8 [PB]
Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]

Ayoni and other stories

From dark dilemmas to sharp wounds. That is what this unique collection by writers spanning a century can be summed up as. The stories, unflinching in style and content, focus on women’s issues like abortion, rape, dowry and beyond. Each piece is reflective of a path-breaking vision that has altered the Telugu literary scene – in form, style and content.

The First City
(February, 2002)

“The stories focus on highlighting the problems that women face in their everyday lives.”
The Authors
Abburi Chaya Devi
Gurazada Apparao
Kanuparti Viswanathareddy
Kuppili Padma
Rachakonda Viswanathasastry
Sivaraju Subbulakshmi
Vivina Murthy
Indraganti Janakibala
Kodavatiganti Kutumbarao
P Sathyavathi
Sripada Subrahmanyasastry
The Translators & Editors
Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Oroon Das
Cover Painting: T Vaikuntam
Category: Katha Telugu Library/Short Fiction
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 208 pages
ISBN 81-87649-00-3 [PB]
Rs Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]

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The Life and Times of Pratapa Mudaliar

Katha presents the first Tamil Novel, originally published more than 125 years ago.

The New Indian Express
(May 21, 2006)

It was 1879 when Samuel Vedanayagam Pillai, retired district magistrate of the South Indian town of Mayuram, wrote the first Tamil novel, Pratapa Mudaliar Charithiram: The life and adventures in Tamil of Pratapa Mudaliar. And though, over the past century, the book has proved to be a best-selling, enduring classic, it's only 140 years later that it has finally been fully translated into English.

This delay is one that the novel's translator Meenakshi Tyagarajan - great grand-daughter of famous writer and social reformer A Madhaviah - finds quite bewildering. "It's definitely very strange that it's not been translated so far. Ashokamritram said precisely this at the launch of the book. The first Telugu and Kannada novels' translations emerged immediately after they were written, in a few years. Also, it's not difficult to translate."

But it's an interest that caught her only six decades after she first read the book. "I first read it in my early teens, but if you read anything for an exam, it kills your enthusiasm," she explains. "But now, after I translated Padmavati (by A Madhaviah), this seemed to be the logical thing to do."

The novel is a humorous and satirical account of the escapades of its lead character, Pratapa Mudaliar, (and, since Pillai was an impassioned believer in women's rights, Mudaliar's wiser wife, Gnanambal). It can't really be considered an authentic, realistic account of the times in which it was produced; it is more in the tradition of escapist folk tales, anecdotes and parables, with its homespun wisdom and humour, and is similarly studded with morals.

This was due to Vedanayagam Pillai's intention of using his prose work as a medium for advocating and bringing about social reform. Far from being a straightforward storyteller, Pillai was rather more concerned with moral precepts, such as his conviction in women's emancipation, since he regarded the "degradation" and "slavery" to which he saw they were subject was one of the "crying evils of the land."

What Pillai also pioneered in his prose (and previous works of poetry, also in a moralistic vein) was a simpler, more colloquial idiom, which the public easily understood. This was a far cry from the high-flown, elevated verse in praise of divinity to which they were accustomed. And though this verse had a certain rarefied beauty, Pillai thought that its arcane vocabulary was one that wasn't even to be found in dictionaries, nor held any practical value to the common public. This was why his novel employed the tale-within-a-tale format "with large chunks of lecturing," says Thyagarajan. "He tuned it to appeal to the public, and it combined his passion for the Tamil language with his desire to entertain and teach."

So, with Pillai's penchant for proselytising, it's understandable why, as Thyagarajan says, "Modern readers would like this book only as a curiosity, or light entertainment." Though she does concede that "there is contemporary applicability of some of his ideas, such as on the judiciary and welfare state."

The Hindu

"The book has ... rare merits and its popularity has been so great that the first edition of a large number of copies ran out in a few months ..."

The author

Mayuram Vedanayagam Pillai

The translator

Meenakshi Tyagarajan

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Netra Shyam
Cover Painting: Vijay Belgave
Category: Katha Tamil Library/Novel
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 272 pages
ISBN 81-89020-42-0 [PB]
Price: Rs 295 [India and the subcontinent only]

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A story of migration, oblivion and strange forgetfulness, Sleepwalkers is a moving tale of shifting identities and locales. Revolving around the two cities, Lucknow and Karachi, it depicts the predicament and misery of post-Partition refugees, uprooted from their homeland.

This is Lucknow ...tilting their caps in the Lucknavi style, several street converge upon the square ... the mohajirs had transported an entire city within the folds of their hearts ... Who knows what remains at the spot where this city had earlier stood! Here it has acquired such splendour that any visitor to Karachi repeatedly asked, "Have you seen Lucknow in Karachi?"

So starts this much-acclaimed novella about migration. Simple, suggestive, subtle, Joginder Paul's Sleepwalkers makes for a satisfying read.

The Hindu
(June 7, 1998)

"Throughout this amazing tale of the real and the imaginary, what is and what was, paradise lost and paradise regained only to be lost again, there is a compassion, a sense of complete empathy with these troubled, night-walking souls. Joginder Paul has obviously trod similar ground and experienced at first hand the bewildering uncertainty of the migrant sensibility. Reading the novels in English one feels truly in a world transported, not created or re-created as most translations attempt to do."
The Statesman
(1 June, 1998)

"This collection is multifaceted and worth buying. The translators give the reader a taste of the richness of Urdu literature."

The author
The Translators
Sunil Trivedi and Sukrita Paul Kumar
The Editor
Keerti Ramachandra
Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Geeta Dharmarajan
Cover Painting: Sanjay Bhattacharya
Courtesy: Neera and Rakesh Malhotra
Category: Katha Urdu Library/Novel
Statistics: 5.25" x 7.5" HB 128 pages
ISBN 81-87649-14-3
Price: Rs 120 [India and the subcontinent only]

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Five Days in Paris

Looking beyond English
(The Hindu, Monday, Mar 19, 2007)
NEW DELHI: There will be more than the usual Indian flavour in the French capital this month. While the taste of "desi'' cuisine may not have gained a foothold in Paris in a big way, but the more potent Indian literature promises to make its presence felt at the Paris Book Fair this month. The big names from the world of words may have already been recognisable, but Katha is trying to get the names of non-English literature noticed too.

With regional authors fighting for attention in the country, Katha is hoping to take this "mission'' beyond. Having nearly 300 writers in 21 languages, Katha really has access to the best stories in India.

The publishing house is hoping to introduce its French readers to a "star'' they may have not been really aware off -- Krishna Sobti. Considered the grand dame of Hindi literature, she has created strong women characters. Born before Independence in West Punjab in present-day Pakistan, she is known for her honesty and the way she looks at things. With many awards, she is a name that goes beyond the limits of language and Katha is hoping that it will achieve that by making her their author of focus.
- Mandira Nayar

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Master Carpenter

When the winds blow wild snuffing out the flames, it is the Master Carpenter who takes up the challenge. Some quick calculations later he raises a stone slab, and the lamp burns steady. When his own heart plays games, the games of desire, once again he triumphs. But how does a father react, who knows that his son has far surpassed his talent, and fallen short of his heritage?

The legend of Perumthachan, the Master Carpenter is recreated vividly from a popular folk tale by MT Vasudevan Nair, the Jnanpith, Sahitya Akademi and Padma Bhushan award winning writer.

The Hindu
(Sunday, November 6, 2005)

ONCE again, thanks to Gita Krishnankutty, readers the world over can enjoy M.T. Vasudevan Nair's exquisite prose in The Master Carpenter. Set in the caste sensitive brahminical society of Kerala, the story of the master carpenter or Perumthachan is a powerful story of love, arrogance, restrictions of caste and the close, almost cloistered life, at the illam.

Everybody has heard of the great skill of the Perumthachan. He is not merely a carpenter, he is a sculptor and an architect too.

The screenplay begins at dusk with an old ambalavasi trying to light a stone lamp. But the wind is strong and the lamp is extinguished. A man lying in the tanner pandal close by gets up and strategically places a stone slab in such a way, breaking the path of the wind. He wears a sacred thread and he is mistaken for a namboodri. But he tells the ambalavasi that he is a carpenter who has been presented with the thread because he built a temple. Immediately the ambalavasi recognises that this is no ordinary carpenter but the Perumthachan. News spreads that the Perumthachan is in town.

He is summoned by Unni thamburan to the kovilakkam and is soon assigned the task of carving an idol for the temple. Perumthachan is irresistibly drawn to Bhargivi thamburatti. And in a minute of misunderstanding, he is not allowed at the consecration of the idol he so lovingly fashioned with the facial features of the thamburatti.

Years pass, and Perumthachan trains his son Kannan in the art and soon Kannan's fame spreads. He is considered as skilful, if not more so, than his father. Perumthachan is at times upset at his son's arrogance, his ability to unduly influence his clients and at times even a strain of avarice.

It is the Perumthachan's wish that he should be the one to build a Saraswati mantapam that Bhargivi thamburatti wanted. But with her long dead, would the young Kunhikkavu thamburatti agree to have it built? Because it was her mother's wish, she agrees and it is Kannan, not Perumthachan, who is called to do the work. Once again, as in the previous generation, there is an undercurrent between Kunhikkavu and Kannan. Unlike the Perumthachan, Kannan does not acknowledge his place in social hierarchy. He finds this stifling and refuses to succumb to it. So much so it leads to disastrous results and it is up to Perumthachan to restore the honour of the kovilakkam.

M.T. Vasudevan Nair has told this legendary story of the master carpenter with finesse, bringing to mind the old rituals and traditions and a world long since forgotten. He systematically builds up the suspense until ultimately the ending comes upon you surprisingly, almost shockingly, leaving you cold and unbelieving.

The Little Magazine

" of the best loved writers in Malayalam."

"...MT is a versatile genius who has mastered the art of fiction."

The author

The Translator

Gita Krishnankutty
Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Geeta Dharmarajan
Cover Paintng: G R Iranna
Category: Katha Malayalam Library/Screenplay
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 248 pages
ISBN 81-89020-23-4 [PB]
Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Separate Journeys

A unique collection demonstrating the vitality and versatility of Indian writing today. "It is sheer serendipity that the stories all happen to be by women."

The Telegraph
(April 24 1998)

"A splendid showcase of short stories by Indian women writers."

Times Literary Supplement

"Her selection reveals a pattern of echoes, resonances and related trajectories pointing to the common concerns of modern Indian writers, and it highlights what some see as women's determination to shed the confining garments of decency in which they have been clothed by male critics."

The Statesman
(May 25 1998)

"After reading Separate Journeys one feels that the very diversity that differentiates the stories also loops them together, sensuously, delicately. It's like some bright colours cajoled into each and every fibre by varying hands and minds."
Indian review of Books
"The fifteen stories in this collection are of such high standard that it is difficult to choose a few to mention in a short review ... the translations are excellent ..."
The authors
Mahasweta Devi
Anupama Niranjana
T Janaki Rani
Anita Desai
Mamoni Raisom Goswami
Ashapurna Devi
Urmila Pawar
Mrinal Pande
Kamala Das
Viswapriya L Iyengar
Qurratulain Hyder
Jeelani Bano
Rajee Seth
Varsha Das
The translators
Mahua Bhattacharya
Tejaswini Niranjana
Vakati Panduranga Rao
Pradipta Borgohain
Rimli Bhattacharya
Asha Damle
Mrinal Pande
Kamala Das
Qurratulain Hyder
Geeta Dharmarajan
Jai Ratan
Varsha Das

: Katha with Garutman
Cover Design: Geeta Dharmarajan
Cover Paintng: T Vaikuntam
Category: Katha Asia Library/Short Fiction
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 216 pages
ISBN 81-85586-79-9 [PB]
Price: Rs 250 [India and the subcontinent only]

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Mapping Memories

Mapping Memories bring together writers from India and Pakistan. The powerful Urdu short stories written by eminent writers, after 1960, reflect the common sensibility evolved through a shared linguistic and cultural heritage.

The Statesman
(June 29 1998)

"All the stories in the collection, from the serious to the light-hearted, the poignant to the bizarre, the surreal to the frightening, are welletched vignettes that transcends all caste creed, language barriers to create a language of their own."

The Pioneer
(June 13 1998)

"Katha's Mapping Memories ... in the fiftieth year of Independence, appears as a timely panacea for the divisive ills festering in the nuclear heat of the current political imbroglio. This exquisitely produced collection of fifteen Urdu short stories has been fastidiously and lovingly put together in accordance with the laudable editorial principle of capturing the 'human predicament in the subcontinent' and telling 'the tale of the shared cultures nourished by India and Pakistan.' Perhaps the signal achievement of the collection is that it opens windows to a vista hitherto closed to non-Urdu speaking readers ... With apparent effortlessness, the translators have accomplished a marvellous job in capturing the idiosyncratic resonances of the spoken language. In becoming the vehicle for the message of peace and harmony, these stories acquire a 'godly' character and, as a body, take on the appearance of a welcome 'bridge over troubled waters.' ''

The Authors

Anwar Qamar
Bano Qudsia
Enver Sajjad
Farkhanda Lodhi
Gyas Ahmed Gaddi
Intizar Husain
Jeelani Bano
Joginder Paul
Mohammad Mansha Yad
Qurratulain Hyder
Salim Agha Qazilbash
Surendra Prakash
Syed Muhammed Ashraf
Umrao Tariq
Zaheda Hina

The translators

Rashmi Govind
Tahira Khan
Shobhana Bhattacharji
Neshat Quaiser
Krishna Paul
Naghma Zafir
GIllian Wright
Qurratulain Hyder
Atanu BHattacharya
Sara Rai
Saleem Kidwai
Anupama Prabhala Kapse, P L Narasimhan
Ayesha Sultana

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Roma Sinai Mukherji
Cover Detail: Detail from Sheba Chhachi's cleave/to, photo-text-sculpture installation
Courtesy: Eicher Gallery
Category: Katha Urdu Library/Short Fiction
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" Pb 234 pages
ISBN 81-85586-76-4
Price: Rs 175 [India and the subcontinent only]

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Mumbai: Film Festivals Galore - II

Katha Centre for Film Studies in collaboration with Alliance Francaise presents:

‘Everytime we say Goodbye,’ a three day film festival showcasing three directors and three countries.

THURSDAY, 22nd March ...

Director: Hou Hsiao Hsien
Country: Taiwan
Three films from the acclaimed Taiwanese Director, Hou Hsiao Hsien
Film : Good Men, Good Women ( Haonan Haonu)
Year: 1995
Language: Mandarin/Cantonese/Japanese/Taiwanese
Country: Japan/Taiwan
Runtime: 108 minutes
Timings: 10.30 a.m to 1 p.m.

Film : Goodbye South, Goodbye (Nanguo zaijan, nangu)
Year: 1996
Language: Mandarin/Hokkien
Country: Taiwan
Runtime: 124 minutes
Timings: 1.30 p.m. to 3.45 p.m.

Film : Three Times (Zui hao de shi guang)
Year: 1996
Language: Mandarin/Taiwanese
Country: France/Taiwan
Runtime: 139 minutes
Timings: 4.15 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.

FRIDAY, 23rd March ...

Director: Satyajit Ray
Country : India
Satyajit Ray’s ‘Appu Trilogy.’

Life of a Bengali family and their son Apu, as he moves from childhood in a rural village, through his youth in Benares where the family later moves, to manhood and marriage in Calcutta.

Film : Pather Panchali ( Song of the Road)
Year: 1955
Language: Bengali
Runtime:115 minutes.
Timings: 10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

Film : Aparajito (The Unvanquished)
Year: 1956
Language: Bengali
Runtime:110 minutes.
Timings: 1.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.

Film : Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)
Year: 1959
Language: Bengali
Runtime:105 minutes.
Timings: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

MONDAY,26th March ...

Director: Bella Tarr
Country: Hungary
Film: Satantango
Lanuguage: Hungarian
Runtime: 450 minutes

A 7 and a half hour masterpiece. Filmed in Hungary from 1991 to 1994, the work examines a village as a microcosm of a country's political leanings.

Timings: 10.30 a.m. onwards.

We're looking forward to having you with us.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007


A modern classic, Water, set in the summer of 1969 in the middle of the worst drought seen in Chennai, portrays the daily struggle of ordinary people trying to survive the crisis. Water, or the lack of it, is the recurrent metaphor in this realist-impressionist novella. An entire landscape of thirst is masterfully conjured up by the story’s locus on a single street whose very existence (and near destruction) revolves around the everyday quest for water.

The Indian Express
(January 20, 2002)

“It is a simple story, told simply, written simply and woven as a simple yarn. Yet Water holds one’s attention in the first few lines itself.”

- Prarthana Gahilote

First City Magazine
(February, 2002)

“The writer has been described as someone ‘who can bring out the strength of simplicity, who can make the everydayness of life speak’. The novel is well written, Ashokamitran has an interesting narrative style and water is a recommended read.”

The Sunday Statesman
(20 January, 2002)

The vision of women’s empowerment which emerges in Water is nothing short of remarkable, advocating as it does, freedom of choice, the mark of liberation in the true sense of the term. Were it not for Holmstrom’s translation of this work into English from the original in Tamil, Water would have remained confined to a select readership. We owe her however, a greater debt of gratitude for the quality of her translation. The transition from the source to the target language is so effortlessly achieved as to make us forget that the English version of Water is not the original one.
(Kathmandu, Sunday, February 24, 2002)

“Water is a lyrical novella, and the best kind of literary translation: it gives readers a chance to enter the imaginative world of another language while also enjoying themselves. It also lets readers re-discover the novella form, which is common in regional language literature, but unusual in English. This book is so refreshing, it almost tempts me to re-read my collection of Katha Prize Stories anthologies."

The author


The translator

Lakshmi Holmstrom

Publishers: Katha
Category: Katha Trailblazer Series/Novel
Cover Painting: Shamshad Hussain
Statistics: 5.25" x 7.5", 160 pages
ISBN 81-87649-13-5 [HB]
Price: Rs 150 [only in India and the subcontinent]

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Home and Away

Love and hatred, desire and disappointment, pleasure and pain, reunion and separation: that’s the gamut of emotions that come alive in Ramachandra Sharma’s Home and Away.

The First City Magazine
(February 2002)

“Arresting narratives make for an engaging read.”

The Pioneer
(January 19, 2002)
“Excellent collection of stories in simple prose, peppered with coloquial flavour. The simple narrative successfully delivers an entire range of emotions and experiences the author has had over the years, each experience leaving an indelible mark and somehow influencing the next one.”

“Katha publications, in presenting a translation of some of his best works, have invited the reader into a rich world, where the stories themselves tell a tale.”

The author
Ramachandra Sharma
The translator
Padma and Ramachandra Sharma

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design and Illustration: Nataraj Sharma
Category: Katha Kannada Library/Short Fiction
Statistics: 5.5" x 8", 192 pages
ISBN 81-87649-15-1
Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tale of Two Novellas

The Financial Express
(New Delhi, Sunday, June 24, 2001)

“Coconut Palms, hot, sizzling dosas or political banter - he is at ease with all of these. Paul Zacharia, one of the best known Malayali writers of today, is known for his dedicated sense of writing. His political columns have often spruced up controversies.”

- Excerpts from Paul Zacharia's interview with Prachi Raturi

The Book Review
(6 June, 2001)

“I am not alone to experience this author-ruling-over-his-text phenomenon. Seemingly, Katha’s Geeta Dharmarajan also realizes it, at least that is what the beautiful cover of the book proves to be. Look at it. The title is written in tiny, almost invisible letters, while the author’s name appears prominently, in large, bright letters, underscoring the importance of the author in relation to his book.”

“But Praise the Lord is different. It is a work that the readers hold close to their heart. I for one have already read the original version two or three times, and yet I sat through the English version at a stretch, more often than not re-reading several passages. And to my surprise, I found that reading could still be a pleasure.”

“The book Praise the Lord and What News Pilate published by Katha holds testimony to this dual role Paul Zacharia plays with remarkable virtuosity. The two novellas do not in any way reflect any political or ideological issues that call for urgency. These are pure narratives tinged with pungent humour. The story seems to be simple, but what makes it fascinating is architecture, its characters and above all its language.”

“This book is undoubtedly the best example of Kerala’s overgrown contemporary fiction that we could show the world."

- M. Mukundan

The Financial Express
(New Delhi, Sunday April 22, 2001)

“Faithful Translation.”

“The first English translation of Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award winner, Paul Zacharia, is indeed refreshing. In the first of the two novellas in this edition, Zacharia captures, in simple sentences, the nuances of life in a rubber plantation in the humid climes of Kerala.”

The Indian Express
(New Delhi, Sunday, May 20, 2001)

“Paul Zacharia’s novellas, Praise the Lord and What News, Pilate?, illustrate in the Rushdiean age of clever writing how simple prose can be used to describe powerful emotions. Despite the brevity of the book (another blessing in this age of fast forward) the issues that it raises stay with you long after you have finished reading it.”

- Ashwin Ahmed

The Asian Age
(Sunday, 3 June 2001)

“The pungent humour, the sharp wit, the exacting eye for detail, athe absurd. All counched in the best of words.”

India Today
(May 7, 2001)

"The man doesn’t write novels, preferring to stick to the genre of the short story, or at times a novella, condensing his whimsical messages into a curtailed amount of prose. Usually his stories are decoctions of multiple tastes, often divergent with each other, variations of meaning and introspections. And the poniard of a subtle sensuality is always thrust into nodal points of the narration, proving Zacharia a maestro of super-suggestion. In many ways, it is also extraordinary hallmark."

- Ravi Shankar profiling Paul Zacharia

The Outlook Weekly News Magazine
(June 4, 2001)

“If Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the best writer in Malayalam, then Gita Krishnankutty’s translation proves that Malayalam reads much better when written in English. These stories explore the logic of deception, which animates the vocative.”

- Sanil V

The Telegraph, Calcutta
(Friday 4 May, 2001)

“Krishnankutty’s Translation is sensitive; she has retained several vernacular suffixes, but succeeded in keeping the text from becoming unwieldy or incomprehensible. Two novellas is certainly a stimulating read.”

- Cyril Arijit Ghosh

(July 20, 2001)

“A decade later, however, the writers came to their own and the genre began to exhibit great variety in themes, styles and worldviews. One of the finest writers to emerge from the movement was Paul Zacharia - Known only as ‘Zacharia’ to Malyalam readers- seldom prolific, but ever careful and innovative. What makes Zacharia different is his vision that alternates between the tragic and the comic and his tenderness kept intact even in the most sarcastic of moods, without at the same time falling prey to sentimentality that is the bane of many compassion- driven writers.”

First City Magazine
(May 2001)

“Translated by Gita Krishnankutty, this wonderfully written book secretes a sort of superadhesive, gluing the book to your hands till you have read each and every word of it.”

“Though the book has a very basic plot, the way it has been written is enough to keep even the most meandering of minds enraptured.”

The Pioneer
(Saturday May 12, 2001)

“Praise the Lord is a rare work of art in terms of translation. Credit must go to Gita Krishnankutty for not letting linguistic limitations inhibit translation of even a typical Malayali slangl. Her rendition of Zacharia is almost perfect.”

“This is a work worth reading for two reasons. First, it is a fine work of literature by a master story-teller from God’s Own Country. Second, it is an even more superb work of translation of a remarkable portrayal of an ordinary life caught in even more ordinary events that, ironically, is what makes life what it is.”

The Author

Paul Zacharia

The Translator

Gita Krishnankutty

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Geeta Dharmarajan
Cover Painting: K S Kulkarni
ISBN 81-87649-10-0 [HB]
Price: Rs 120 [In the Indian subcontinent]

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Katha in Paris!

Mukundan, Sobti, Kamleshwar books head for Paris Book Fair

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS): Delhi-based publisher Katha will showcase author Krishna Sobti's works along with Kamleshwar's "Not Flowers Of Henna", M. Mukundan's "Dance", Laxmibai Tilak's "Sketches From Memory" and Damodar Mauzo's "These Are My Children" at the Paris Book Fair this year.

Katha's slice of verse, in an anthology by stalwarts like Na Pichamurthy and young artistes like Kanimozhi and Udaya Narayana Singh ("Second Person Singular"), is also bound for the March 23-27 fair. The children's section will include "Kaleh And The Sing Song Castle" by Rizio Yohannan Raj, "The Chase, First Sun Stories," - by various contributors - and "The Famous Smile" by Geeta Dharmarajan.

"The Vigil" by Shurhoezelie Liezietsu, "Looking for Ismail Sheika," by Homen Borghohain, "The Full Moon In Winter" by Dilip Chitre, "Tales Of City" by various authors, and "Anoma's Daughter" by Santanu Kumar Acharya are listed under college fiction. Sobti, the Hindi author of "The Heart Has Its Reasons" and "Listen, Girl", will be in the spotlight at the fair as "author in focus".

"Sobti's style and idiom impart an authentic touch to whatever theme and situation she portrays. The essence of her creativity lies in her honesty and eagerness to reach the truth and to look into things, rather than at them," said Katha managing editor Rizio Yohannan Raj.

"Sobti guards her freedom as a writer and as an individual zealously. The honesty, range and depth of her works make her one of the representative authors of Katha whose vision is to present the eclectic nature of Indian fiction to a wider readership," she added.

Katha also plans to publish three more novels - "Damn You, Mitro", "Sunflowers In The Dark", "Memory's Daughter" - by her later this year. Kamleshwar's "Not Flowers Of Henna" (Rs.200) - translated by Jai Ratan into English - brings together 15 of his short stories in his characteristic open-ended, restive grope for meaning among the ruins of memory. The collection includes "How Many More Pakistans?" - the famous precursor to his celebrated novel "Kitne Pakistan." Kamleshwar died in New Delhi on Jan 27.

Mauzo's "These Are My Children" (Rs.200) - translated from Konkani into English by Xavier Cota - is a bittersweet slice of life from Goa about empty nests and affections betrayed.

Set up in 1988, Katha focuses on English translations from 21 Indian languages.
- Shinie Antony

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Motifs with a motive

Illustrator Sonali Biswas tells AMRITA TALWAR about her work for Geeta Dharmarajan's latest children's book
(Metroplus, The Hindu, February 8, 2007)

Over 400 million people in villages, towns and cities depend on the river Ganga for their daily needs. Instead of protecting the river, people pollute it by dumping sewage and chemicals, create soil erosion and endanger the water species. While environmentalists try to put two and two together to undo this, author Geeta Dharmarajan has come up with a simple solution: she along with illustrator Sonali Biswas has used the tool of katha (story). In "Ma Ganga and the Razai Box", brought out by Geeta's publishing house Katha, she has not only narrated the problem but has offered a solution too. She feels that stories reach out to people and can change their outlook towards things.

This is the story of Yasho, a young girl who saved her village by softening Ganga's fury the same way as Lord Shiva did. Ancient myth tells us that Shiva took the weight of the mighty Ganga on his head and allowed the water to come out slowly through his locks, which prevented the river's force from destroying the earth. In the same way young Yasho planted trees, and their roots, which resemble Shiva's matted locks, helped in arresting soil erosion.
Says Sonali, "After reading the script I realised that the illustrations had to be well-researched. I consulted books, magazines and the Internet. I visited the hill state of Uttaranchal to work out the details and depict the village folk."

The various illustrations such as Shiva's matted locks, roots of the trees, Yasho's portrait, Ma Ganga and the Razai box are beautiful and symbolic. Sonali has drawn the sketches on rice paper and used the hues of green, blue, brown and earthy colours. Her motifs for "Razai Box", carvings on the door have been derived from Uttaranchal folk art. For Shiva's illustration Sonali was inspired by the sculpture of Shiva in the Elephanta caves.

The favourite

But her favourite illustration is the razai box. For that, Sonali created a box and decorated it with a motif used in Kumaoni floor paintings.

"I associated it with wooden boxes in which we put our quilts. After that I checked out various Kumaoni paintings and created a motif. It was ritualistic and a symbol of hills," says Sonali.

Sonali has been illustrating for children for over a decade. She is the recipient of the Chitra Katha Award 2003 for Outstanding Illustrations for "One Lonely Unicorn". She has also received the Runner-Up award from Noma Concours for Children's Book Illustrations in 2000 and an Honourable Mention at the Biennial of Asian Illustrators, Japan in 2002.

"Illustrating for children is all about colours, fun, font and clarity. Drawings should be emotive, creative but not too confusing. I get a lot of satisfaction when I illustrate for children. I feel my paintings can breathe."

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Mumbai: Film Festivals Galore

Greetings from the Katha Centre for Film Studies!

We have two events coming up, this week:

On Monday, the 12th of March, 2007, Katha Centre for Film Studies in collaboration with Bhavan's Cultural Centre, Andheri will be screening "Beijing Bicycle" by Wang Xiaoshuai.

Year: 2001
Country: France/ Taiwan/China
Language: Mandarin
Runtime: 113 minutes

The screening will be held at 11 a.m. at the S.P. Jain Auditorium, Bhavan's College Campus, Andheri West.

On Thursday, 15th March, 2007, Katha Centre for Film Studies in collaboration with Alliance Francaise and SNDT Women's University has organised a special screening of "Bronx Barbes" by French Director Elaine de Latour, who is visiting Mumbai especially for MAMI. You will be able to meet the director, who will introduce and discuss the film before and after the screening.

Year: 2000
Country: France
Language: French/Nushi
Runtime:110 minutes

: SNDT Committee Room, English Department, SNDT Women's University, Churchgate, Mumbai . Timings: 3.30 p.m. onwards.

Please do come and get your friends along!

PS: Check this space for the 3-day Film Festival coming up on 22nd March.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Not Flowers of Henna

From Katha ...
A first view of Padma Bhushan Awardee Kamleshwar's "Not Flowers of Henna" right here. At our New Books Section.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Alma Kabutari in Chennai!

Katha takes great pleasure in inviting you to the launch of its latest release …

"Alma Kabutari"

by renowned writer and SAARC Literary Award winner, Maitreyi Pushpa, translated from the Hindi by Raji Narasimhan.

The saga of Alma Kabutari does not begin with Alma herself. It has its roots in centuries of social and sexual subjugation of the kabutaris by the upper-caste kajjas. Like Chittor's Rani Padmini of yore, from whom the kabutaris are descended, the onus of breaking the vicious circle and reclaiming human status for her people falls on young Alma. The engrossing story of young Alma's evolution from victim to survivor to tenacious rebel, Alma Kabutari opens a window to the suffering and exploitation of a tribe that teeters at the very fringes of society even today, and that urgently needs our concern and understanding.

The book will be released by Ms Sumathi, well-known writer and lawyer, who will also speak on it. A reading of choice excerpts from the book will follow.
The launch will happen at 1.00 PM, on 6th March, 2007
The Auditorium, Women's Christian College,
College Road, Chennai-600006
We're looking forward to having you with us!
For more information, please contact 4211 4326/94443 90134
or email us at:

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