Films Ours & Theirs

Asokamitran

Sanbun Publishers, 403, Imperial Tower, Naraina Commercial Centre, C-Block, Naraina Vihar, New Delhi – 110028; ph: 98101 94729. price: Rs. 150

This is a selection of over 30 articles which Asokamitran has written on cinema in various publications. Each article is complete in itself, and has in place the writer’s trademark wry humour and keen sense of observation. Like the one on Devika Rani. The story is sad as it brings out the contrast in the legend’s life… how from heights of stardom she became but a mere shadow of her former self, frail and not in complete control of her thoughts.

There are many lines which leave you smiling. Sample this: while talking about the make-up room at the legendary Gemini Studios (where Asokamitran worked for 14 years) and Pan-cake, a brand of make-up which the Studio had ordered by the truck-loads, Asokamitran writes, “...this gang of… make-up men could turn any decent-looking person into a crimson-hued monster with truckloads of pancake…!”

The writer has devoted quite a few pages to relive his days at Gemini Studios and his Boss, S.S. Vasan. The Rajaji-Vasan meetings, the visit of poet Stephen Spender to the Studio, the making of the multi-starrer ‘Insaniyat’ and special screening of ‘Pather Panchali’ make interesting reading.

In the process, this book chronicles the rise of Indian cinema, its stars and directors and the changing equations within the industry between directors and actors; actors and technicians and much more. If you brush aside some typos, this is certainly a fresh, and often amusing, take on Indian cinema.

Theory of Indian Music (Sangita Sastras Sarigraha - Part III): A Guide for Higher Grade Examination

Dr. M.B. Vedavalli

The Karnatic Music Book Centre, No. 23, Sripuram 1 street, Royapettah, Chennai- 600014; ph: 28111716. Price: Rs. 225

Written specially for students of Carnatic music, this book covers the syllabus prescribed for the Higher Grade Examination conducted by the Government of Tamil Nadu, and tackles practically every aspect of music. In fact, many of the topics discussed here are included in the B.A. Music syllabus.

Her strong academic background and years of teaching experience have helped Dr. Vedavalli put the various aspects of music in clear perspective, making it easy for students to grasp the fundamentals of Carnatic music.

The book is divided into 25 chapters. The topics that have been explored include biographical sketches of composers, physics of music, instruments and their classifications, manodharma sangita, and talas and their varieties. There is a chapter dedicated to Ancient Tamil music and its special features with examples. A couple of model question papers at the end of the book will be useful to students.

Full of technical details and nuances of music, this book will be helpful to both teachers and students of Carnatic music.

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