Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Genre: Pulp Fiction. Avatar: Marathi.

During my childhood at 233 Khetwadi Main Road, I used to be addicted to Marathi pulp fiction written by the Arnalkar Brothers (Baburao and Madhulkar). They used to run an optician’s shop in Girgaon. Their books (average length about 150 pocket book sized pages) used to come out every month with clockwork regularity. They were like a two-man pulp fiction factory. I used to be a member of a whole-in-the-wall library next to the Central Cinema, diagonally across the Girgaon Portuguese Church. It was called Gokharkar Library. All their books and magazines used to be covered in a slip binding of thick brown paper stitched on to the spine. I remember some of the continuing characters in the various Arnalkar-authored series: the detective duo, Dhananjay and Chottu (literally “the little one”), Zunjar (“the fighter”) modeled – if memory serves – on the Saint, and the bhel-gobbling newspaper reporter-cum-investigator, Sanjay. I even remember seeing a Dhananjay movie produced by C Ramchandra, the well-known Hindi film music composer in which he acted the main role with Bhagwan as Chottu in the late fifties or early sixties. What the storyline was, I cannot recall, though. At http://www.maayboli.com/hitguj/messages/103385/134652.html?1137912165. there’s an interesting thread on the same topic. The catch is, you have to know Marathi to read it.