Justin Chang says the captivating new drama, "The Disciple," is one of the best movies he's seen this year. The film won the best screenplay prize at last year's Venice International Film Festival. It tells the story of a young man from Mumbai who aspires to be a great classical Indian singer.
The sun set on the British Empire 60 years ago this summer, on Aug. 15, 1947, when India officially gained its independence. A new work of narrative history called Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire probes the behind-the-scenes political machinations — and the potentially scandalous secret love affair — that facilitated the handover.
Music critic Milo Miles reviews new collections of Bollywood film music: Bollywood for Beginners, The Best of Bollywood, 15 Classic Hits from the Indian Cinema, and The Very Best of Bollywood Songs II.
Film critic John Powers reviews Lagaan, the new film from India made in Bollywood which he says may be one of the few Indian films to make it big over here. Its already been released in England and is also released on DVD.
World Music critic Milo Miles reviews some music from India's Bollywood films. He says songs written for these movies tend to incorporate a wide array of influences, from lush strings to reggae. For a taste, Miles recommends "Dance, Raja, Dance," by Vijaya Anand
Book critic John Leonard reviews a biography of Paul Scott, who wrote the Raj Quartet, which includes the Jewel in the Crown. The book is written by Hilary Spurling. Leonard knew Scott personally, and says the book does justice to his tragic life.
Book critic John Leonard reviews "The Search for the Pink Headed Duck," by Rory Nugent, about his travels to India and Tibet. He says Nugent is a "splendid quack" whose stories are exotic and sometimes hard to believe.
Book critic John Leonard reviews the German author's new book, about his travels to Calcutta. Frustrated with the industrial revival of the two Germanies, Grass goes abroad to learn about other models of national identity.