Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sepia tone.

In the 1967-released Bonnie and Clyde, when Clyde meets his brother, the film is still in full colour. But when Bonnie overpowered by nostalgia and missing her mom terribly finally takes the gang to meet her family, Arthur Penn shoots the entire Parker family reunion in sepia tone. Why?

If only I could've emulated Penn I would have done that very thing to this press note I found in my old papers. It’s about The Last Gandhi Movie website’s performance between 09-09-1998 and 30-06-1999. It’s also about a gambit that failed owing (in retrospect) to the lack of timely follow-up and inability to provide sustained support mainly because of inexperience and over-optimism. I thought I would reproduce it here for nostalgic reasons:

32181 hits in 295 days* is ‘jolly good show’ for a niche Gandhi novel website.

Mumbai, 20 July:- He wrote a novel, ‘The Last Gandhi Movie’, cross-p0llinatin Gandhi’s life with Hollywood lore. Then, instead of chasing literary agents and querying publishers, he opted for the internet route, to take the pulse of fiction readers. Last September, as soon as the site was up, he sent out ‘visit this book site’ e-appeals to some of the readers who had posted book reviews at, in addition to ‘listing’ his site with search engines and directories.

Interest is where you find it.

The Internet is a great leveler. Ask nicely and you shall be given. ‘The Last Known Address of MK Gandhi, Esquire’ at is a living proof of it. Here, you get to read sample chapters of the novel and e-mail them to friends. You can also meet the cast of characters – a bevy of unusual suspects, get to know the chronology of events, and play an interactive role-switch game. A fair proportion of the people who visited the site came from search engines like Alta Vista. They asked to be taken there out of interest or curiosity is what it means. The highest point in the hits curve coincided with the time span when the e-mailing was done. The next high point came when the posting to search engines and directories was intensified. No banner advertising, just e-mailing and site listing!

What they have been saying about

Here’s an assortment of comments from the site visitors. “Who is publishing The Last [Gandhi] Movie? When and where will it published? Who is your target audience? Your site is graphically very exciting.” (, 05-11-98) “… if you are the maker then you have it in you. The very essence of looking at things differently, think separately and mere fun of speculating ‘What ifs’ and ‘What if nots’. I really do like your style and appreciate your work.” (, 12-11-98) “I checked out your site and it’s interesting. I’m not really into role-playing games or Gandhi, but I enjoyed it just the same. I’ll visit again…” (infringer13@, 24.10.98) “I very much look forward to your forthcoming novel. Please keep me apprised of its publication schedule.” (, 23.10.98) “Hi, I really liked your site. I heard about it from a friend… Very interesting, will it be published?” (, 23.10.98) “I was pleasantly surprised at your site. I do intend to read your novel some time … where can I find it in bio-degradable format?” (, 20.10.98) “… your site is lovely, informative, and with attitude.” (, 14.09.98) “Brilliant site by the way, haven’t laughed so much for a long time and that was only after visiting it for a short time … can’t wait to get back and see what else is there.” (, 15.09.98)

No bells, no whistles.

In keeping with the essential simplicity of Gandhi, the site is devoid of gimmickry. The only concession to the ‘movie’ of the book title is a preamble with a smiling Gandhi on a ‘screen’ pop-up. The tone and the writing are upbeat and literate like the novel it showcases. The site has RSACi’s seal of approval for content, has a link to via a books and music section and a Recommend-it link as well. Deepak Mankar who wrote the novel created the content. DBS Internet Services Private Limited designed and host the site.
[*From 09-09-98 to 30-06-99]

To date The Last Gandhi Movie remains unpublished. You can find the scattered remnants of The Last Known Address of MK Gandhi, Esquire at, though.