'Cut Like Wound': A peek into the underbelly of Bangalore
Posted on: 14 Oct 2012
New Delhi: As a writer, Anita Nair challenges herself to move into unfamiliar areas and one such detour gave birth to the psychological thriller 'Cut Like Wound' in which she tries to lay open the underbelly of Bangalore that is mostly referred to as a glossy IT capital.
'This ('Cut Like Wound') is a novel that defies the conventional noir canon. I wanted to lay open to the world the
underbelly of a city that is mostly referred to as a glossy IT capital,' the author of 'The Better Man', 'Ladies Coupe',
'Mistress' and 'Lessons in Forgetting' says.
'Bangalore is very cosmopolitan, and has to it many aspects of urban life. It represents a life style that it is
fast and happening. But there is also a hidden Bangalore.
'Beyond the technocrats and big brands there also exists a city that has hardly been written about and this is what I
wanted to capture, celebrate even. In this novel I wanted to trawl the city and different strata of the society,' Nair told
Steeped in the lanes Bangalore, 'Cut Like Wound' takes place over a period of 38 days and introduces a host of
One of the characters is Inspector Borei Gowda. At Shivaji Nagar, a young male prostitute is killed and burnt alive on the first night of Ramadan. It would have stayed as yet another unsolved murder, but for Inspector Gowda. As bodies begin to pile up one after the other, and it becomes clear that a serial killer is on the prowl, Gowda recognises a pattern in the killings which no one else does.
Even as he negotiates serious mid-life blues, problems with his wife and son, an affair with an ex-girlfriend, and official apathy and ridicule, the killer moves in for the next victim.
'As a full time writer, I need to constantly challenge myself to move into areas that I am not familiar with and this
book was the result of one such detour,' Nair says.
According to the author, the 38-day period happened in an organic fashion.
'In fact, Shivaji Nagar where most of the novel is set becomes a huge hub of activity during Ramzan and St. Mary's
Day. I wanted to structure the novel within these two festivals and hence the 38-day period.'
'Cut Like Wound', says Nair, is also a literary noir. 'On the one hand, it has all the stylistic elements of the
literary novel. And on the other hand, it is completely governed by the hallmark of noir writing. Unlike 'The Better
Man', 'Ladies Coupe', 'Mistress' or 'Lessons in Forgetting', 'Cut Like Wound' is told in a linear fashion.
'It is also a novel that explores the lives of people but in an unambiguous manner. Perhaps the most essential
difference from my other novels is that 'Cut Like Wound' offers social commentary unlike anything I have written
before. While the novel is driven by the characters and the plot, for the first time I have brought in the city as a
The idea of the novel came when Nair was on a book tour in Rome May 2010 that a scene occurred to her.
'Once I wrote the first scene out I knew that it couldn't be literary fiction of the sort I had written until then.
Since I had never ever written a genre novel before, I was very unsure how to move forward. And then another image swam
into my mind, that of Inspector Gowda - of a flawed man but redeemed by his belief in justice,' she says.
'In many ways he doesn't have the freedom to be the man he wants to be because he is still quite a traditional man at
heart - a family man. Like all of us he is still searching to understand himself and this search is not easy as his job
demands an exactness and precision from him. Add to this the corruption in the system and Gowda has very little option but
to fight or just float.
'And his life is a battle between one state or the other. And suddenly I knew exactly what this book was going to be all
about. It would be literary noir and would trawl the underbelly of the city and have a complex police inspector as
its hero,' says Nair.
Her 'Lessons in Forgetting' has been made into a movie. So did she have a similar plan for later adaptation while
writing 'Cut like Wound'?
'I don't ever think of film adaptations when I work on my novels. However, I have been repeatedly told that there is a
great visual imagery in my writing and hence it lends itself naturally to movie adaptations,' she says. PTI