By Ashis Nandy
Divided into 4 sections, this publication tells the tale of India's ambivalent affair with the trendy urban throughout the fantasy of the adventure among the village and town, and the alterations that delusion has gone through. It loks on the vicissitudes of the metaphor of trip; profiles a variety of heroes as they negotiate the transitions from the village to town and again to the village; and specializes in the psychopathological trip from a poisoned village right into a self-annihilating urban.
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Additional info for An Ambiguous Journey to the City: The Village and Other Odd Ruins of the Self in the Indian Imagination
In its third incarnation, too, Devdas was a huge success. People who had seen all three versions of Devdas knew that Roy's version was cinematically more polished than the two earlier ones made by Barua. Dilip Kumar, who had for years specialized in tragedies, put in an excellent performance as Devdas. PostIndependence f i l n ~ ~ o emay r s have sworn that 'Dilip was born to play ~ e v d a s ' ; I *almost no one from the older generation thought so. Certainly no Bengali film critic seemed happy, they praised Roy and could find no major flaw in his Devdas, but felt that it had not met the standards set by Barua.
It may be of some interest to the psychologically minded that, after being weaned, he lived entirely on milk for eight years. H e had his first solid food at the age of nine when the customary ritual of annaprashan was celebrated. Whether as a consequence or not, he remained a Spartan eater all his life. His food habits were to pose a problem in his later life, when he contacted tuberculosis. There also persisted in Barua a strange but identifiable sense of exile from a maternal utopia, alongside attempts to regain it through fleeting relationships with women and through fantasies oflover-mothers at the margins of social morality (providing absolute, unconditional nurture as a substitute for lost love-objects).
More about these later. Throughout life Pramathesh admired his father Prabhatchandra, a learned man with an excellent knowledge of literature and classical music, a social reformer, a patron of education and music, and a builder. Prabhatchandra was fond and proud of his eldest son and heir, almost blindly so. H e granted Pramathesh enormous freedom from an early age and, afterwards, though often shocked by his son's chaotic marital life and financial ~roblems,Prabhatchandra continued to have faith in his unconventional but brilliant son.