“I am a director of plays, your honour, a writer and a performing artist. I have no religion except my conscience. My atma is infinite. It belongs everywhere.”
Amitabh Kulashetra, a renowned theatre director utters those words when he is put on the stand to defend his petition against a Rashtriya Dal leader who is held responsible for the murder of Amitabh’s lead actor. When the case courses and deflects the tangent towards Amitabh’s politically charged plays and engaging in urban naxalism, he realises how bleak his pleas would look and sound against the tenor of being branded an anti national and terrorist. He is found dead in a train compartment, nameless and faceless until he is identified through a number in his wallet.
Cut is the story of a theatre activist and a branded urban naxal, who’s death sparks a series of impacts and consequences, ultimately affecting the lives of everyone who was associated with him. His wife, Sarla Kulashetra realises and redefines her husband’s thoughts when she finds a memoir called Cut. Does the urban naxalism he was accused of stand justified? Or is he set to rest with the words antinational in his legacy?
This is my first book my Sreemoyee Piu Kundu and to be honest, after the backlash that her book, Sita’s Curse received, I dived into the book with less expectation and even lesser bias. I was surprised by the way Kundu managed to integrate the crude reality of films and entertainment with the political awareness that seems to lack in it. The characters you meet are real, raw and very believable. The script is fast paced and yet, clear enough to follow. Despite the many characters, it doesn’t seem huddled, lost or crowded or even loaded with over information.
Kundu’s writing is simple and yet powerful enough, which sets well into the gritty setting of the story. Mrinalini Shirle, also called Maya in the story, has to be a character that leaves an impact but it is his wife, Sarla Kulashetra who really tears through your heart. There are no right or wrong answers that the book seems to answer but rather, lets you decide as a reader where you stand.
Overall, It is a haunting, gritty read which at times seems to go on forever. It could have been shorter but still, under 300 pages packs a punch. A 4 star read, it is a must for anyone interested in knowing or understanding why people are branded Urban naxals and the thought process behind the concept.
Disclaimer: I was sent a review copy of the book by Bloomsbury India Publishing in exchange of an honest review.
Until next time!