Maitreyee B Chowdhury is a Bangalore based web columnist, poet and creative writer. She is author of three books ‘Reflections on My India’, ‘Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen: Bengali Cinema’s First Couple’ and ‘Where Even The Present Is Ancient: Benaras’. Besides poetry, Maitreyee writes on cinema and social issues.
How does it feel when you wrote ‘Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen: Bengali Cinemas First Couple’? Your book has been widely accepted by the readers across. Did you expect such an overwhelming response?
If I were to consider the subject matter, considering the fact that the duo are so popular, yes I did expect the book to do well. I think the book did better because it is the first book in English on the duo, too.
Tell us about yourself and your family.
I live in Bangalore with a husband, a daughter, a dog, some books, some poetry, some friends and some Facebook.
Tell us something about your writing style.
I’ve never consciously adopted any style, so it would be difficult for me to comment on that. My readers would probably be a better judge of that. Though I’ve often heard people describing my work as the, ‘Stream of consciousness’ style.
What are your other hobbies besides writing?
I’m a cyclist, dancer, gardener and passionate walker, besides other things.
Are you currently working on your next novel? If so, what is it based upon?
Answer: Yes I am currently working on something, which also has a historical perspective to it, based on the theme of displacement, though it is far too early to comment on it right now.
Who are your role models?
Role models keep changing through a person’s life I think; at least it has for me. To name one would be doing injustice to others, because there have been so many.
Uttam Kumar And Suchitra Sen: Bengali Cinemas First Couple, What made you to write this Book? Did you know Suchitra Sen or someone from her family personally?
The book came about as a desire to pen about the childhood influence that the duo’s films had on me and also the fact that no substantial book in English had been written about them. This apart, the curiosity to understand and write about a period in Bengali cinema, was also what drove me.
Which authors inspire you the most?
Like many others who read there have been several inspirations, but the writers who have always fascinated me are those who could communicate their thought process lucidly without making language a barrier. Writers whose work is well researched, and has subtlety, grace and lyricism in their writing also fascinate me. In that sense some writers I have admired are Naipaul, Sylvia Plath, Aga Shahid Ali, Orhan Pamuk, Vikram Seth, amongst many others.
You do write on cinema , does it make sense to you on all this box office hits now a days, Crossing 2 millions?
The kind of cinema you talk about, I have not written on them. So my opinion on that is perhaps not relevant.
You do write on social issues too, what do you think is the least known social issue which may impact heavily in future?
One issue( I wouldn’t call it least known) that I find less talked about is saving water. Considering the fact that clean drinking water is poised to become one of the biggest issues in the future, I find it surprising why it is not a subject that is being dealt with on a war footing. Educating children about it, making the corporate world talk about it as a part of the CSR activities and the immediate implementation of water meters in all towns and cities is a must I think if we are to save ourselves s from a future crisis.
In the book “Reflections on My India: An Indian Insight ” ,you wrote on Indian Culture. Could you list some good and bad about Indian culture as compared to other cultures.
It is not my job to point out the bad in other cultures. People are aware of what is good and bad to large extents themselves. If there is part of Indian culture I’m proud of, it is the stress on family, its importance in today’s times cannot be more exaggerated. Having said that I feel sad when there are so few people who do not try to know or even understand more about Indian culture, because even if one were not to imbibe all of it in one’s own life, knowing about it is always an added advantage.
You traveled across Chennai, Bangalore, Guwahati, kolkata, what do you normally do when you travel (read books, music?)
Apart from books and music, watching people and gathering stories is a pre-occupation during my travels.
So Maitreyee, What’s all with the election Fuzz in India? Who will win? What would happen? 🙂
Answer: It’s been a crazy election phase. Irrespective of who wins, I think all of us look forward to a stable government with emphasis on security & development, reducing corruption and inflation.
Finally , How does it feel to be interviewed by MerryBrains (In Kapil Sharma style :))?
It’s been a pleasure, thank you 😀
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