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Haider and The Common Man : A Reading of Vishal Bhardwaj's Film in Arthur Miller's Light

There can be little doubt in the fact the Vishal Bhardwaj has established himself in the last few years as one of the foremost imaginative and nuanced film-maker in India. Much of his success can be attributed to his adaptations of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies. The Indian-ness of Mr Bhardwaj's adaptations is what makes the movies so critically and commercially successful in the Indian milieu. This points to the fact that something is universal with Shakespeare's tragedies and with tragedies in general. Shakespeare's works had been adapted in India, in various local dialects since the early days of colonisation. It was the encounter with Shakespeare's work that led us to re-discover the great tragedies of the Indian Classical Era, in an attempt to evaluate Indian literature and to note the structuralist similarities of Indian and European literature. But the effect of tragedy lies in the fall of the protagonist due to some tragic flaw (hamartia). Due to its…
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Inception and The Dream of Descartes

The Matrix has always been hailed as one the most accurate celluloid adaptation of the “Dream Argument” of Descartes, but people mostly overlook the Cartesian parallels in Nolan's Inception (2010). Nolan is a storyteller. He engrosses us so much with the plot at hand that the audience forgets to engage with the philosophy of the film while enjoying the film. It was only later, after I finished watching the film that I began to understand how Descartes might have influenced Nolan's philosophy. The film begins in a dream and slowly rises up to the level of reality on-board the Shinkansen in Japan. The constant nagging target of the film is the reality in which the film is set. An idea is the most resilient virus – the notion on which the whole plot rests. When I first read Descartes, the keyword for me was 'doubt', when doubt sticks in our mind, it becomes “impossible to eradicate”, because doubt is an idea in itself. His notions about what could be called into doubt qu…

Political Allegory in Neil Gaiman's Wolves in the Walls

Rarely one has the chance to encounter a literary work that encapsulates the true meaning of the text in the narratives of a child as is the case with Neil Gaiman's The Wolves in the Walls. It is impossible to point out a definitive single source or point of origin for the text but, as with Gaiman, an expert literary archaeologist, he draws inspirations from various works of literature and narrative techniques. The predominant emotion of the text is paranoia. It is probably one of the few texts in children's literature which deals with the concept of madness. Here, one might think Charlotte Perkins Gilman's text The Yellow Wallpaper as a possible source text for Gaiman's work. In Gilman's text, the protagonist imagines the someone creeps behind the pattern of the wallpaper, similar to Lucy's imagination of wolves living behind the wall. The wall in the story is used as a smokescreen or a curtain that shields or hides the functionings and the machinations of …