The Idiot’s Guide to Interviewing Jhumpa Lahiri: Blather on about how goodlooking she is, since of course that’s the most important aspect of her writing. Ask her the torn between two worlds question. And if you’re still stuck for a paragraph, ask how she deals with post-Pulitzer stress.

Book Magazine, on the other hand, chose to ask “librarians and English teachers” about Jhumpa, spoke to her mother, took her on a trip to Ellis Island–did all the hard work that should go into a proper profile, in other words, and it paid off.

“Making any book into a film is walking into a minefield. Readers are bound to compare the novel with the film, and unfavourably”– Gowri Ramnarayan on adaptations. The Babu’s not sure she’s entirely right, though: Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility was faithful to Austen but (brickbats from dissenters welcome) not a terribly exciting film, whereas Rituparno Ghosh plays around with several elements in his adaptation of Tagore’s Chokher Bali, but still creates a truly interesting piece of work. The touchstone for me, personally, has always been The English Patient: loved the book, loved the film and thought of them as two almost completely distinct creations. Then there was Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas, which functioned at a different level all together. As a version of Saratchandra’s Bengali novel, it was a joke and a very bad one at that. As a three-hour-long drama centred around a traditional North Indian family who just happened to speak the odd word of Bengali and wear vaguely Bong outfits, it made excellent soap opera.

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