Starry lives & poetic prose
Surinder Singh Tej

Naqsh - Nigar
by Gurmukh Singh Sehgal
Sangam Publications, Samana
Pages 141. Rs 200

Naqsh - NigarGurmukh Singh Sehgal is a prolific and versatile writer. Besides penning four novels, he has tried his hand on biographical sketches, travelogues and other literary forms. Being a teacher by vocation, he has had a long stint in a Mumbai college where his literary talent provided him many an opportunity to get close to the stars of the Hindi film industry, especially those with Punjabi roots. This close interaction also gave him a rare insight into the whims and fancies of these personalities.

The volume under review is a collection of pen portraits of 15 film and literary personalities. These include Dilip Kumar, Balraj Sahni, Gulzar, Mehdi Hasan and many others besides some literary giants of Punjabi like Prof. Pritam Singh and Surinder Singh Narula. These are mostly idolatory in nature, contain no warts and have already appeared in Punjabi dailies in a shorter form. Some of these are really interesting while others are mundane. The irritating factor is that most of these lack focus and precision and "I, my, me" dominates. This attempt to establish self importance at the cost of the subject, is the bane.

Manobal, Atam Vishvas Ate JittManobal, Atam Vishvas Ate Jitt
by Joginder Singh Principal
Lokgeet Parkashan, Chandigarh
Pages 160. Rs 150

Joginder Singh Principal loves prose which he pens with a poetic flourish. He is blessed with a vocabulary that is grand to the core. The problem with his endeavours is that the torrent and flourish of his words often engulf his thoughts, thus making his pieces hazy and incomprehensible. The substance is generally lost. The volume under review, which consists of 30 essays and four satires, is a monumental effort but suffers from the same syndrome. A pity, indeed.Daftar Vich Bhoond

                             Daftar Vich Bhoond                                             
by K. L. Garg
Chetna Parkashan, Ludhiana
Pages 128. Rs 140

KL Garg is a well-known satirist in Punjabi and a successful one too. The mantra for his success is that he knows his art, is focussed and treats his subjects with requisite insight. Daftar Vich Bhoond is a collection of satires on the working style of government offices.

He describes these offices as the rusted wheels of our democracy and then attempts to prove this thesis through more than 35 satirical pieces. Some of these such as Maharaje De Darshan, Chandi Ram Di Lok Sewa, Guache Peo Da Ishtihar are brilliant. On the whole, a wholesome volume.