The Immortals tells the story of two families bound by music. Shyamji is the son of the acclaimed classical singer Ram Lal. But Shyam Lal is not his father - and knows he never will be. His student, Mallika Sengupta, is a talented singer who has never pushed herself while her son Nirmalya, also Shyamjis student, believes in suffering for his art and judges Shyam Lal for selling out. Written in haunting, melodic prose, The Immortals is an acutely observed and lyrical novel about the place of art in the modern world.
About the Author :
Amit Chaudhuri is the author of five novels, the latest of which is The Immortals. Among the many prizes he has won for his fiction are the Commonwealth Literature Prize, the Betty Trask Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Sahitya Akademi Award. He is also a highly respected critic, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia. Amit Chaudhuri lives in Kolkata and Norwich, and is also an acclaimed musician.
The Immortals is about art and commerce
These days one might just skip The Immortals as yet another commonplace offering by yet another Indian author. But writer Amit Chaudhari impresses with a refreshing insight and creative portrayal of the music and art scene in the country.
Amit Chaudhari is a writer cum academic and classical singer in the North Indian tradition. It's but natural that his widespread talents find an echo in this book. Amit is already a distinguished author and you will best remember him for his book 'The Freedom Song'. Born in Calcutta, he grew up in Mumbai, and is currently Professor in Contemporary Literature in the UK at the University of East Anglia. He has won a number of awards and is an internationally acclaimed writer.
The Immortals is about the story of a family immersed into the high flying corporate world on one hand, and their experience with music on the other. While vividly describing the Bombay of the 1970's and 1980's, the book has its fair share of characters - Malika Sengupta, who is married to a leading corporate scion, classical music tutor Shyam Lal, and Mallika's son Nirmalya.
Each one has a different perception about music. While Malika pursues her dreams of becoming commercially successful by getting her ghazal recordings done through a music company, Nirmalya dreams about purity in art through his exploring of western philosophy. Shyamji uses his prowess in classical music as a bread winning tool to tutor the wealthy and elite.
To some extent, I felt that the author is describing his own life and upper class Mumbai life style through this book through his portrayal of Nirmalya as an anguished youngster in a torn kurta and western jeans. From my viewpoint, I felt the book explores the angle between art and commerciality, and to how far this connection can thrive. However, I feel critical that this book while brilliantly describing Indian art and ethnicity is packaged for primarily a more westernized audience.
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