Press: The Hindu

Vijay Nair wrote a column about Indian writing and he mentioned me in it.

Another writer who seems to be getting there is Anuvab Pal with his seminal work The President is Coming . Pal wrote the first draft of the play in a workshop I attended for 12 Indian playwrights that a theatre group from Mumbai organized along with a much revered British theatre establishment. During the first reading of the play in the workshop, the reaction from the facilitators was poker faced at best. When the play was staged to immense audience acclaim, there were jealous titters from others in the workshop about how hard the director had to work to redeem Pal’s play. The play soon found itself into a film adaptation and then a leading publisher commissioned Pal to write a novel on the same idea as the book. Since a novel, unlike a play or a screenplay cannot be redeemed by any director, his peers from theatre are not saying anything anymore. The President is Coming once again is not a farce bereft of ideas. It found a ready resonance with the audience because it pokes fun at them while not taking itself very seriously. The phenomenon of the play is interesting because it became hugely popular in India and abroad without the backing of the self styled patrons of Indian arts and literature that a Sahitya Academy writer once described to me as the cultural mafia. I don’t know whether I would ever read Pal’s novel having watched the play and the film. But I do have a lot of respect for Pal and what he achieves through his writing.

Read his entire piece here.


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