Rajesh Kumar, the most insanely prolific of the many Tamil pulp fiction authors whose work we featured in The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction Vol. I and Vol. II, has apparently begun writing even faster. The Coimbatore-based writer has been averaging three new titles a month since he got started in 1968, and was reportedly up to a lifetime total of around 1500 books. Now, however, our local tea kadai proprietor tells us that he's stocking eight or nine new Rajesh Kumar novels every month.
Let's repeat that: Eight or nine novels. Every month.
If you aren't familiar with the Rajesh Kumar yugam, peruse this profile by Samanth Subramanian.
Also, check out this interview of G Asokan, one of Rajesh Kumar's publishers, where he reminisces about the eighties when television had not yet taken over people's lives.
Here are a few of this month's Rajesh Kumar covers:
Subramaniyapuram: The Tamil Film in English Translation
Please join us at3:30 P.M. tomorrow—Friday, January 17, 2014—at the Chennai Book Fair (at the YMCA grounds in Nandanam) for the launch of our new release, a translation of the screenplay of one of the most acclaimed Tamil films of recent years.
DirectorM. Sasikumarwill present the first copy to chief guestGautham Menon. ActorsJaiandSamuthirakaniand cinematographer S. R. Kadhir will be there, along withAnand Pandian, the editor and co-translator of the book, and film criticsBaradwaj RanganandPreminda Jacob, who have contributed essays. Sahitya-Akademi-award-winning Tamil authorSu. Venkatesanwill also speak at the event.
There will be a question and answer session at the end, followed by a book signing... and afterwards, of course, you can head onwards into the giant book fair tent and browse the stalls of hundreds of publishers, all of whom are offering their titles at a discount of at least 10%.
If you're not in Chennai tomorrow, please note that you can order the book online from our site.
On January 17th, we'll be releasing Subramaniyapuram: The Tamil Film in English Translation.
If you haven't seen this movie yet, you should: it's amazing. A tale of friendship, betrayal, love and revenge set in Madurai in the early 1980s, the film pioneered a new, gritty aesthetic in Tamil cinema that has caught the attention of film lovers around the world. Made on a tiny budget by a first-time director and a cast of newcomers, Subramaniyapuram was a smash hit with audiences all over South India, from the big cities to the villages.
It's also been cited as a major influence by some of India’s most respected filmmakers, including Anurag Kashyap, who dedicated his 2012 epic Gangs of Wasseypur to "The Madurai Triumvirate": Subramaniyapuram director/screenwriter/star M. Sasikumar and his mentors, directors Ameer Sultan and Bala.
The book contains an English translation of the screenplay (by Kausalya Hart and Constantine Nakassis) plus a wealth of additional material curated by Anand Pandian, a film scholar at Johns Hopkins University. There are essays by Baradwaj Rangan, Constantine Nakassis, Preminda Jacob, and Anand himself on the film's cinematic context and social impact; a full-colour gallery of film stills, never-before-seen working shots, and publicity posters; and an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with Sasikumar.
The launch is scheduled for 3:30 pm on Friday, January 17, at the Chennai Book Fair. Both Sasikumar and book editor Anand Pandian will speak and be available for signings. We encourage you to grow a beard, if you're able, and come in period costume -- though your aruvaal and bottle of naattu sarakku will probably not be allowed inside.