India Dreams is a French graphic novel in four volumes by Maryse Charles and Jean Francois Charles that is translated to English and published by OM books. The book tells a tale that spans three generations, set mostly in India from 1920s to 1960s.
The story of India Dreams is a mix of intrigues and mysteries in the times of Raj, political propagandas, secret groups, a bit of legends and fantasy, and multiple love stories of different generations that stitch the different time lines together. What I liked in the book was the artwork - The colorful illustrations of various exotic landscapes from India and Nepal were brilliant.
Watched Karie, Malayalam film directed by Naranipuzha Shanavas, who passed away recently. The film shows two Malayalees, Gopu and Bilal, traveling to a rural village of North Kerala. Gopu works in Oman, and Dineshan, one of his colleagues (or his employee?) in Oman is waiting for his visa to become permanent. Gopu and Bilal visit Dineshan's aging parents in his village. They realize that his parents are about to conduct a ritualistic vazhipadu involving a "karingali" performance on the next day at a local temple, for getting Dineshan established in his job. Because of various circumstances, Gopu and Bilal are stuck at the place, and they are having to take a lead on organizing the karingali vazhipadu.
I liked Karie for the way some of its bizarre imagery (like a karingali performer in full costumes running through the grass growing on dried up path of Nila river) is quite naturally integrated into a script that is very realistic. The director doesn't try to "explain" things, so we get a feel of watching a few scenes from the lives of the people involved, and are left to imagine some aspects connecting them. The film also aims to give subtle commentaries on social aspects like "caste sensitivity" in Kerala, so we are having to make our own deductions on Gopu's attitude towards the rituals, his behavior at Dineshan's home, and so on. Here too, the director just shows us the visuals and stays away without making any direct statements via background music or otherwise. I liked this freedom given to viewers, and the overall approach to film-making the director had.
Watched Minari, a touching film that tells the story of a Korean immigrant family in 1980s United States. Jacob and Monica, husband and wife, work at a chicken farm to make a living. But Jacob aspires to become a farmer specializing in Korean vegetables, so they buy some land in a rural area and move to there, living in a caravan housing with their two children. Monica doesn't like the settings in the village a bit, and she wants to move to California, which she believes would be good for their children. So, they have to make a choice.
While the film portrays the hardships, personal conflicts, etc., it also has a heart-warming portrayal of the relationship between the grandmother (Monica's aging mother, who arrives from Korea to support the family) and her grandson. I was amused to note that the situations, emotions and cultural aspects portrayed in the film would have been equally applicable even if the characters were portrayed as Indians.
Had some fun reading the Gomer Goof comic series during the holidays with son. Don't recollect reading any of these before; We had a lot of laughs reading about Gomer and his inventions.
Marathi film Harishchandrachi Factory tells the story of Dadasaheb Phalke as he makes Raja Harishchandra, India's first film in 1913.
I remember watching Celluloid, Malayalam film which told the story of JC Daniel, who had made the first Malayalam film. Celluloid followed a serious approach to its narrative, giving additional focus on social issues, etc., which I think is what is more of an expected style for such a theme. However, Harishchandrachi Factory has a very light-hearted narration style, and it shows the events associated with the making of Raja Harishchandra with touches of gentle humor. It is an interesting film to watch.
Over the weekend, read the graphic novel adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, illustrated by Fred Fordham. The illustrations are brilliant, and I liked the way the ambiance of a 1930 Alabama village is brought out in pictures with details, including the way the tree leaves make patterns on the faces of people and other objects (seems like this is a favorite area of the artist - as we see this in many of the pictures in the book).
Many of the dialogues and even the organization of some of the frames in the graphic novel looked to be following the 1962 film based on the same book. However, the graphic novel spends more time to portray the children - their innocence, naughtiness and adventures as seen through the eyes of six year old Scout, and overall I found the graphic novel to be more enjoyable than the film.
New Kid is graphic novel written by Jerry Craft in which he narrates the experiences of an African American boy named Jordan, as he joins a prestigious private school in the first form. Jordan wanted to join an art school, but his parents enroll him in a regular school instead, telling that it would be "good for his future". Jordan finds it a bit difficult to fit into the system initially, where "colored" students are a small minority, and get a differential treatment in subtle ways. However, as days progress, he finds friends and starts liking his school. He gains confidence, and by the year end, he becomes one of the most popular students of his class.
New Kid is a feel good and interesting read. The illustrations cant be called exactly as brilliant, but they do the job, and are apt for the light narrative style of the book.