Category Archives: Essays

On subversion and masala Bollywood (Part 3) — GoW2 and why masala endures

Standard, Part 1 and Part 2, for some reference. And major spoilers will be discussed ahead, do be warned. I’ve had a long month of work, work and more work, so I’m aware this critique is very late.

I’m also under quite a bit of pressure. My previous posts on Shanghai and GoW1 have attracted far more readers than I’d dreamed of, publicised by heaps of people, and Anurag Kashyap has himself admitted he read it. Many times. So now I have performance anxiety. ūüėź

Plus, I’ve been avoiding all the mainstream reviews of GoW2 because I’m convinced they’d jinx the film for me. No, I wanted to keep Sardar Khan’s gleaming head in my mind when I start watching this film, because if anyone could top that first part, it would be Nawazuddin Siddiqui in a pair of Ray-Bans.

A friend on Facebook said this after watching GoW2: “I used to be ashamed of all those afternoons I spent at home watching ridiculously, bizarrely, brain-fryingly random Hindi movies on Set Max. Now I know that Anurag Kashyap — someone the world considers an artist — also watched them. I feel validated.” This was my exact reaction to the film.

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Roland Barthes: ‘The Metaphor of the Eye’


Note: Since my review of Charu Nivedita’s¬†Zero Degree, much vitriol is being generated in my comments section against the ‘sick’, ‘perverted’, ‘disgusting’ writing in the novel. Several theorists in the past have made numerous arguments for the use of¬†pornographic¬†imagery in literary writing, debating if pornography is literary at all. One of the essays highly relevant during its time was Roland Barthes’ essay on Georges Bataille’s¬†The¬†Story of the Eye.¬†

¬†In India, the¬†pornography-literature discourse is a debate well ahead of its time. I am reproducing Barthes’ essay in its entirety here (it isn’t available in full form anywhere online – and it is long, be warned) to shed some light on the differences between writing porn and writing¬†pornographically.¬†

The Metaphor of the Eye

Although Story of the Eye features a number of named characters¬†with an account of their sex play, Bataille was by no means writing¬†the story of Simone, Marcelle, or the narrator (as Sade, for¬†example, wrote the stories of Justine and Juliette)[1]. Story of the Eye¬†really is the story of an object. How can an object have a story?¬†Well, it can pass from hand to hand, giving rise to the sort of tame¬†fancy authors call The History of my Pipe or Memoirs of an Armchair,¬†or alternatively it can pass from image to image, in which case its¬†story is that of a migration, the cycle of the avatars it passes¬†through, far removed from its original being, down the path of a¬†particular imagination that distorts but never drops it. This is the¬†case with Bataille’s book. Read the rest of this entry