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Current Show - Perumal Murugan

Book was read between February 23, 2019 and Februrary 24,2019

Edition Details:
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 186
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780143428350
Translator: V Geetha

Current Show - Perumal Murugan
Current Show - Perumal Murugan

First Sentence:
The young man slumps against a lamp post.

Sathivel aka Sathi had been lying outside the gate of the Sri Vimla theatre. He was in bad condition. He was weak. He was dirty and he had been wearing a shirt with no buttons. He would have lain there till he died, but then Natesan, one of the boys working for the Soda man, showed mercy and took him inside.

Now, Sathi works for the soda shop inside the compound of the theatre. He has clothes, he earns something and is able to eat one time during a day. This is far better than what he had earlier. Most important he's not alone. He has his own life. There are many boys who are working there. Some work for the theatre, some sell tickets and some sell edible items to people during the show.

The theatre is their life and Current Show is their story.

Major Characters:
Sathivel -The protagonist
Hulk,Natesan,Mani,Ganesan - Boys that work  in a soda shop in the compound of sri vimla theatre
Manager - Manager of the theatre
The soda man- Guy who had employed Sathivel
Muthu - Son of Soda Man
Muthamma - An ennuch
Kajendran - the projector operator
Singaan - A theater boy
Film reel man- Guy who used to bring film reels for the theatres
Karuvachi - A sex worker lady who used to visit theatre. 

I came to know about Perumal Murugan some two to three years back when there was a huge controversy regarding his novel One part woman. I was looking for his books when i came across Current Show. I read about it and it piqued my interest and so i bought it.

Current show tells you the story of Sathivel. He is brought into Sri Vimla theatre and then we see his life unfolding in front of our eyes. The book is divided into fifteen chapters which give you glimpses of different aspects of his life. You can see them as scenes from his life in the theatre.

There are times when the novel feels like watching a movie full of disjointed scenes.The ending too has some parts that are not properly explained. It makes you feel that there is something that is missing. You are not shown the whole picture and you have to guess what would have happened.

Sathivel sees Natesan as his saviour but then something happens to Natesan. Natesan is no longer at the theatre. The thing happened during a job that they had been doing for their master, the soda man. What happened to Natesan is not clearly explained. There is a hint that Natesan was attacked and then it's mentioned that  he was there in hospital. But then it's not made clear whether Natesan came out alive or not. What happened after Natesan was attacked?  But then is incident prods Sathi to take the final step. And that too is not made clear. We as a reader don't know what did Sathi decide? It's left to us to ponder upon.

This thing may be problematic for many readers. They may find it absurd as to what is happening and why it's happening.But the way i understand, and i may be wrong, is that here  the author is not trying here to narrate a story.

 He's i guess trying to show you a life which often is invisible from the eyes of people that used to visit these single screen theatres. I could connect to Sathi and other boys as i have seen a bunch of them during my school and college days. I used to go to such single screens in my school and college days and i have watched many boys like Sathi and his gang. They used to sell samosa, cold drinks,pop corn during the interval. We used to buy things from them and then used to forget about them. Who are these kids? Why are they working here? What are they going to do when they grow up? These questions never come across anyone's mind. They are nearly invisible after they have fulfilled their job of supplying snacks.

Here the author looks at their life ,their problems, their aspirations and their relationships among themselves and with their employer, with the manager and other elders. The elders who are one moment showering them with praises and the next moment are slapping them like they are mangy curs. The anger that these boys have and when is the time when they say enough is enough. W see the scams they pull, the things they do to pass the time, the things that make them happy and their personal relationships that they have been running away from.We see all these and more in these fifteen chapters.

Apart from all these, one gets the glimpse of how the things used to work in a theatre at that time. It was fun to know that there was  a guy who used to carry reels not only from one theatre to other but one town to other. I wonder how his life had been and what would he have experienced.

If you are looking for a story then you may be disappointed but if you want to see lives with all its grit and darkness then Perumal Murugan's Current Show wouldn't disappoint you.

The single screen theatres may have been replaced in metros but boys like Sathi and his friends can still be seen near the stations,malls etc selling pens, books, trinkets and eking out a living. It sheds lights on those invisible lives and may be makes you see them.

Also,there is a story by Ruskin bond called 'The summer season' in the collection 'Time stops at Shamli and other stories' which is also about a boy who comes from his village to work at picture hall. This story also shows the lives of boys working in such environment. If you have not read it then you should read it too.

My rating: 3.5/5

If you have read the book then do tell me what did you thought of it? If you haven't read the book and want to read it, you can get it from the following link:
FTC Disclosure: इस पोस्ट में एफिलिएट लिंक्स मौजूद हैं। अगर आप इन लिंक्स के माध्यम से खरीददारी करते हैं तो एक बुक जर्नल को उसके एवज में छोटा सा कमीशन मिलता है। आपको इसके लिए कोई अतिरिक्त शुल्क नहीं देना पड़ेगा। ये पैसा साइट के रखरखाव में काम आता है। This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy from these links Ek Book Journal receives a small percentage of your purchase as a commission. You are not charged extra for your purchase. This money is used in maintainence of the website.

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