Between fighting her wars against big dams and unfettered globalisation, Arundhati Roy
may yet be engaged in something different. The buzz is that the celebrity-writer-activist
could be penning the text for the world-renowned photojournalist Sebastiao Salgado’s
upcoming work on polio. Salgado is travelling to eight countries over the year to shoot
his new epic, and he wants somebody to write up "strong, flowing, good text".
And Roy, Salgado feels, is a natural candidate for the job. Whether Roy herself will take
up the job is not yet clear, because it would mean her travelling to the few remaining
polio hot zones in the world, including some war-ravaged African countries. But it’s
one more cause she could lend a writing hand to.
Jhumpa Lahiri did it last year with her Interpreter of Maladies. This time it’s yet another Indian, Peter Bhatia, whose newspaper, The Oregonian of Portland, won two Pulitzer prizes, including the prestigious public service award. The latter came for the paper’s coverage of immigration and naturalisation service problems. As the paper’s executive editor, Bhatia is the seniormost newspaper editor of South Asian origin in the US. In an interview to a website, this is what he had to say about the current crop of journalists: "I don’t want to sound like an old man, but I find that the current generation is not prepared to work hard. As baby boomers, it was beaten into us that you can’t expect things handed to you. You have to go that extra mile." And see where this extra mile has taken him!
Are we to lose Salman Rushdie to Hollywood? The Daily Telegraph reports that the author is so kicked with his role in Bridget Jones’s Diary that he’s already setting his sights on another. And what role does he think he’s best suited to? None less than that of James Bond. "I’d cut a pretty suave 007," he told the newspaper, "and I’m determined to kiss someone other than Hugh Grant."