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By November 22, 2017No Comments

Source : The Pioneer

Dehradun : A book on the life and works of renowned English author Ruskin Bond has been brought out which is of equal interest for the research scholar as well as the general reader, especially Bond fans. Titled Fiction and Film: The Romantic Imagination of Ruskin Bond, the book is based on detailed and exhaustive research by the author,  Jaskiran Chopra who is a Doon-based journalist and author.

The book was launched at the recently concluded international festival of literature and arts titled Valley of Words in the Doon valley. Governor Krishan Kant Paul launched the book during the festival. He said on the occasion that the work has thrown a new light on the writings of Bond, who is loved by one and all in this region as well as the country.

“It has dealt with each aspect of his work in a manner that will make readers realise the depth of his writing,” said the Governor. “The work has also stressed upon the fact that Bond cannot be confined to being a children’s author,” he said.

Ruskin Bond, the renowned author who has been living in and writing from Mussoorie for the past six decades, has been a great favourite with people across the country. His works, written against the backdrop of the Doon valley and Mussoorie, have brought alive this region in a manner that has endeared the author to thousands of book lovers. Despite the fact that Bond has written several works for the grown- ups, he is mainly looked upon as a children’s writer. This label does little justice to this grand old writer of the Himalayas whose autobiographical works, essays, poetry and novellas say a lot about the depth and breadth of his writing, the broad strokes of his art.

These aspects have been brought out in a well-defined way in this book on Bond’s work.

Chopra’s work has sought to focus on the romantic tradition inherited not only from the west but also located in the Indian tradition. It locates ‘romance’ in a wider concept and understands it both as a philosophy and a methodology. It has looked at the romantic imagination, which is the soul of Bond’s work, in its entirety. This dimension gives his writing the uniqueness which makes him the writer for all ages, all seasons. This book   highlights the core of romance that lies at the heart of Bond’s imagination. It explores the romantic vision of the author which binds together the various aspects of his writing like innocence, personal narration, love for the past, love for nature and environment, and interest in childhood. The innocence which we find in his creative world is not just an important part of his stories for children but is an all-pervading atmosphere in all his works.

In the first chapter   titled “Prelude: Growing up as Rusty” Chopra looks at The Room on the Roof and Vagrants in the Valley as well as the stories about his childhood which Bond wrote much later. His growing up years spent in Dehradun have always  remained  etched in his heart and the role that the valley has played in shaping his thoughts and emotions  is evident in his writings. His rootedness in Dehra has given a special complexion and warmth to his writings .

His love for history has been explored in “The Past in Many Hues: Historical Narratives” which discusses his historical novel  A Flight of  Pigeons. Set in the small town of Shahajahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, it tells the story (a true one) of an English family during the 1856 revolt.

The intense fascination which Javed Khan, the Pathan, develops for the young English girl Ruth Labadoor is as strong a passion as the one shown by the Indian soldiers for the revolt. It is this passion which  made Shyam  Benegal give the name Junoon to the film which he based on this novel.

The chapter titled “In a Different Medium” discusses all serials and films made on Bond’s work including Shyam Benegal’s Junoon which has the distinction of being the first film made on Bond’s writings.

The other films that have been made are Vishal Bhardwaj’s The Blue Umbrella and 7 Khoon Maaf based on a story of the same name and on “Susanna’s Seven Husbands” respectively. The chapter also discusses at length the television serial, titled Ek Tha Rusty (Seasons one and two) produced and directed by Shubhdarshini Singh  and telecast by Doordarshan .

“The Storyteller: Bond’s Narrative Strategies and Territorial Affiliations” encompasses Bond’s narrative approaches across all the genres he works in. The concluding chapter of Chopra’s work focuses on the various aspects of Bond’s writings that have contributed in creating a body of work imbued with his romantic imagination.

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