Presentation on theme: "Vikas Swarup was born in Allahabad (India) in a family of lawyers. After his schooling, Vikas attended Allahabad University and studied History, Psychology."— Presentation transcript:
Vikas Swarup was born in Allahabad (India) in a family of lawyers. After his schooling, Vikas attended Allahabad University and studied History, Psychology and Philosophy. He also made his mark as a champion debater, winning National level competitions. After graduating with distinction, he joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1986, motivated by an interest in international relations and a desire to explore different cultures. In his diplomatic career, Vikas has been posted to various countries such as Turkey (1987-1990), the United States (1993-1997) Ethiopia (1997- 2000), the United Kingdom (2000-2003) and South Africa (2006-2009). Since August 2009, he is the Consul General of India in Osaka-Kobe, Japan. He penned his first novel, Q&A, in two months, when he was posted in London. Published in 2005 by Doubleday/Random House (UK & Commonwealth), Harper Collins (Canada) and Scribner (US) it has been published in 42 languages including Arabic, French, German, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Taiwanese, Thai, and Hebrew. It was short listed for the Best First Book by the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and won South Africa’s Exclusive Books Boeke Prize 2006 as well as the Paris Book Fair’s Reader’s Prize, the Prix Grand Public, in 2007. It was voted the Most Influential Book of 2008 in Taiwan, and winner of the Best Travel Read (Fiction) at the Heathrow Travel Product Award 2009. Swarup's second novel Six Suspects, (2008) and has been translated into several languages and optioned for a film by the BBC and Starfield productions. Swarup's short story "A Great Event" has been published in The Children’s Hours: Stories of Childhood, an anthology of stories about childhood to support Save the Children and raise awareness for its fight to end violence against children.
“I have been arrested. For winning a quiz show. They came for me late last night, when even the stray dogs had gone off to sleep. They broke open my door, handcuffed me and marched me off to the waiting jeep with a flashing red light. There was no hue and cry. Not one resident stirred from his hut. Only the old owl on the tamarind tree hooted at my arrest. Arrests in Dharavi are as common as pickpockets on the local train. Not a day goes by without some hapless resident being taken away to the police station. There are some who have to be physically dragged of by the constables, screaming and kicking all the while. And there are those who go quietly. who expect, perhaps even wait for, the police. For them, the arrival of the jeep with the flashing red light is actually a relief. ”(pag.2). Ram Mohammad Thomas, has just won one billion rupees on the quiz show Who Will Win A Billion. But then he is thrown in jail under the suspicion of cheating. Because he is a kid from the slums, how could he know anything? The answers to each question asked comes from a specific event in his life. With each story he tells to his sympathetic lawyer, Smita Shah, one more puzzle piece is put in place. The end result is something beautiful, a romance, a thriller, an adventure, a drama, and everything else woven into one beautiful tapestry of life. The novel essentially moves on two planes. There is the life story of the quiz-show contestant, Ram Mohammed Thomas, and there are the goings on in the quiz show itself. The pace of the novel stems from the fact that there is dualism, contradiction and tension between the two strands of the novel. What links these two strands is memory. As it known, a quiz is not so much a test of knowledge as a test of memory. And our memories are produced by various things: by our experiences, our dreams and desires, not just by what we are taught in school.
CHAPTERQUIZ QUESTION CHRONOLOGY Prologue13 The Death of a Hero What is the name of the Bollywood blockbuster in which Armaan Ali starred with Priya Kapoor for the first time? 5 The Burden of a Priest What is the sequence of letters often inscribed on a cross? 1 A Brother’s Promise Which is the smallest planet in the solar system? 6 A Thought for the Crippled Surdas, the blind poet, was a devotee of which god? 2 How to Speak Australian What does persona non grata mean? 7 Hold on to Your Bottons What is the capital of Papua New Guinea? 9 Murder on The Western Express Who invented the revolver? 8 A Soldier’s Tale What is the highest award for gallantry in the Indian Army? 3 Licence to Kill How many test centuries has India’s greatest batsman, Sachin Malvankar, scored? 11 Tragedy Queen In which year did Neelina Kumari win a National Award? 4 A Love Story In which of Shakespeare’s plays is there a character called Costard? 10 The Thirteenth Question What was the name of Mumtaz Mahal’s father? 12 Epilogue14 FABULA & STORYLINE
Author vs Narrator the narrative style VIKAS SWARUP Indian diplomate Highly-educated RAM MOHAMMAD THOMAS Orphan boy Poor Untaught
Vikas Swarup has made it very clear that his first priority was to entertain. Nevertheless, the life story of Ram Mohammed Thomas is very much the story of an underdog, and his dealings with police brutality, corruption and crime undoubtedly give an impression of Indian society that is far from flattering. However, the happy ending of the story implies that the underdog can win in the end and that India, in spite of all its faults, is a country of opportunity.
MAIN THEMES: THE DARK AND THE BRIGHT SIDE OF INDIA POVERTY & POWER HOMOSEXUALITY CHILD ABUSE & TRAFFICKING BRUTALITY CORRUPTION VIOLENCE FORTUNE LOVE HOPE FRIENDSHIP BOLLYWOOD STARS
Like Adiga's White Tiger, however, Swarup's novel is unlikely to win plaudits from the Indian tourist board. Its depiction of Swarup's homeland is hardly diplomatic. "You might think that, but I have had no complaints, not from the Mumbai police [whom he depicts as child torturers] or from anyone in the government. My country respects artistic freedom."
First of all, in the movie, the protagonist is named Jamal. In the novel, his name is Ram Mohammed Thomas, an orphan boy adopted by a priest who didn't want to offend any of the major religious denominations of the area by giving the boy a Christian name (Thomas doesn't have a Sikh name, because, as he notes in his favor, the Sikh representative was sick on the day of his naming). The personality traits are also slightly different. Jamal of the movie seems very innocent despite his difficult childhood. Thomas is definitely a kind person. He is a passionate defender of women, and he is willing to do almost anything for his best friend (not brother, in the novel), Salim. However, Thomas resorts to violence many times in order to protect women and at times, himself. He fantasizes about women's bodies and even visits a prostitute, actions that the purer Jamal of the film would probably not indulge in. Thomas also experiences a greater variety of relationships. There is a love story in Q & A, but it is not as prevalent as the love story in the film and doesn't surface until much later in Thomas' story. Thomas has many more (non-romantic) relationships with women, including an aging actress that employs him as a servant, a woman in his chawl who trusts him with secrets about her life, and a young woman who lives next door to him that he tries to protect from her abusive and alcoholic father. Thomas has a father figure in the priest who raised him and a younger brother figure in his exuberant best friend Salim. He spends time with an Australian colonel that teaches him about white prejudices toward Indians. THE NOVEL AND THE MOVIE
Ram’ s immagination: “ A tall woman with flowing black hair. She is wearing a white sari of thin fabric that flutters and vibrates like a kite. She opens her arms and cries, “ My son, what are they doing to you? ” pag. 12. In telling Gudiya's story, Ram asks "But what was Gudiya's crime? Simply that she was born a girl and Shantaram was her father?" (pg. 68) Nita, pimped by her brother to earn money for her family, with her virginity sold off to the highest bidder when she was 12. Also Neelima Kumari, although a successful actress, is seriously assaulted by her lover and also suffers torments as she ages and loses her beauty, finally committing suicide. The leading lady in this book, is Ram’s lawyer Smita Shah. Being a lawyer, she automatically has authority and power. Power is usually a symbol for male dominance. Then, as she listened to Ram’s stories about his life, her emotional side kicked in. A classical trait of women is strong emotion. “Smita remained true to her word. She fought for me like a mother fights for her children.” (pag. 315) Now this quote can be a bit ambiguous because it can represent Smita’s old and new feminism side. For the new feminism, this shows how the roles of man and woman are switched. The traditional way would be that Ram is saving Smita, but it is completely opposite. Smita is the one trying to save Ram and prevent him from going to jail. Smita’s character is broad and has many windows of possible analysis.
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