By Ashis Nandy
Divided into 4 sections, this publication tells the tale of India's ambivalent affair with the trendy urban during the fable of the adventure among the village and town, and the adjustments that fantasy has passed through. It loks on the vicissitudes of the metaphor of trip; profiles a number of heroes as they negotiate the transitions from the village to the town and again to the village; and makes a speciality of the psychopathological trip from a poisoned village right into a self-annihilating urban.
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Extra resources for An Ambiguous Journey to the City: The Village and Other Odd Ruins of the Self in the Indian Imagination
One thing, however, seems certain. Despite a clear narcissistic strain in his personality, Barua was never calculating in his affairs; they were therefore bound to be self-destructive enterprises in the end. H e was ever ready to fall in love, but did not know how to fall out of love. A shy, romantic moralist, with a sense of noblesse oblige, he had internalized middle-class values and come to share the fantasies he acted out on the screen. What this ultimate hero of the world created by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay had once said about Devdas remains a vital clue to his own life: 'because the love of Devdas could not transcend the physical, it took him towards d e s t r ~ c t i o n .
Describing his last journey to the cremation grounds, the distinguished writer Sailajananda Mukhopadhyay said: 'To see him for the last time, every house on the roadside had become a jungle of people; there was not an inch of space anywhere. Behind his flower-adorned dead body were his innumerable, grieving friends. . It seemed that everybody in the huge metropolis, old and young, was running out to pay his or her last respect to their beloved 'Devdas'. '18 Mukhopadhyay had underestimated not so much Barua's popularity as the extent to which Barua had come to represent the defeat and demise of Bengal's first innocent affair with the urbanindustrial vision.
People wore Barua jackets, shirts, and collars. Dasgupta describes the bonding between Barua and the Indian middle class in the following words: 54 No personality in the cinema had established more identity between his private life and the films he created, the roles he played. His films were not objective records or interpretations of the work of others, they were intensely personal. He did not merely make Devdas. He was Devdas. Rarely has a filmmaker been as much ofa legendary hero as Pramathesh Barua, Prince of Gauripur, Assam.