Millennium Post

The writer’s story

The writer’s story
Her Three Continent: 50 Years with Merchant Ivory is a film festival curated by Meera Dawan. It celebrates Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1927-2013), author and screenplay writer. She remains the only writer to win both a Booker Award for her novel Heat and Dust, as well as two Academy Awards for her adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novels, A Room with a View and Howards End.

This retrospective, to be held at India International Centre, New Delhi, is a tribute to Jhabvala’s brilliant talent. It includes screenings of seven select films, a discussion: RUTH: DESTINED TO WRITE, with readings from her works and an overview by the celebrated Hindi author Ramesh Chandra Shah. There will also be an exhibit of memorabilia from her life and work.

On writing about herself, Ruth had said: "Novelists' autobiographies are so boring. You empty yourself out in your fiction; I don't give much away directly, but everything away indirectly. As an artist or writer, you're much more your work than you are yourself."

Film posters, photographs, notebooks, scripts, sketches drawn by Ruth’s architect husband, Cyrus Jhabvala, her beloved well-worn typewriter, an old  German model from her school days, copies of her published works — her Indian fans can get glimpses into the different facets of Ruth’s life and works through the exhibits on display at the IIC main foyer.

Ruth Jhabvala, was born Jewish in Cologne, Germany but was fortunate to escape to England with her family in 1939. She married Indian architect Cyrus Jhabvala and moved to New Delhi where she lived for the next 25 years.

“I still can’t describe the impact that India made on my innocent mind and sense. To try to express it would make me stutter…Stunning, overwhelming, beyond words. I entered a world of sensuous delights”.

The writer Ruth PrawerJhabvala, achieved her greatest famefor work she had once dismissed as a hobby – listing “writing film scripts” as a recreation in Who's Who. Her original screenplays and adaptations of literary classics for the film producer Ismail Merchant and the director James Ivory were met with box-office and critical success.

The trio had met in 1961, and almost immediately became collaborators, as well as close and lifelong friends — an Indian, an English and an American, making films in all their continents.

When: December 8-12, 16- 22 Where: Main Auditorium, Indian International Centre, New Delhi
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