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The Bookseller

I thought I’d share with you Shoefiend’s post on Ammani and her short documentaries. Ammani’s latest film ,The Bookseller, is FourDocs’ Film of the Week.

The movie reminded me about the pavement book sellers in Mumbai – rows and rows of books stretching from Flora Fountain to Churchgate station. The Chennai book’shop’ was a lot more haphazard, but one can see the love and passion that the bookseller feels for his trade. It’s a poignant tale, a story of how people struggle to do what they know best.

Like I mentioned in a comment on Shoefie’s post, the fact that the 80 year old bookseller stayed by his pile day and night (or books get nicked) touched me deeply. I remarked on the concept of ‘honesty’ bookshops here in the UK. Here books are left unattended, only with a request that people pay the price mentioned. I have not yet seen people walk away without paying. Perhaps it happens sometimes. It usually doesn’t.

In our council library’s foyer, we have a bookshelf chock-a-bloc of ‘withdrawn’ books and magazines. The books vary in price while magazines are 20 pence each. There’s nobody watching to see if someone walks away with a book. But no one does. We take what we want, go into the library, pay, and leave.

Why doesn’t that happen back home?

Is the lure of the freebie so strong?

Anyway, I’m off on a tangent here, so I’ll stop. Please see Amman’s film.


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