Tabish Khair

05 January 2012
400 pages


Set primarily in India and spanning the twentieth century, Filming tells a series of stories, including that of one-time prostitute Durga, who is persuaded to give away her young son, Ashok, and that of Saleem, the son of a prostitute and two-times star of the silver screen. As these stories intertwine and overlap, they combine to create a novel that is simultaneously about the small details and the bigger picture, weaving together major historical events – including Partition, the assassination of Gandhi, the rise of photography and the Bombay film industry, and the development of barbed wire – with the everyday moments that make up the fabric of our lives.

‘Its plot, like a Bollywood melodrama, teems with characters and incident’ Guardian

‘Elegantly structured and taut with understated passion, Filming is a brilliant recreation of the lost world of early cinema and the continuing tragedy of religious hatred . . . Its delights as well as its message should find admiring readers everywhere’ Independent

‘Absorbing . . . Filming is distinguished by its ambition, its structural inventiveness and its highly evocative prose’ TLS

‘Underpinning this intriguing novel is a concern for the truth . . . In keeping with Khair’s pertinent and thought-provoking musings on self-deception, its skill lies in making us question our assumptions about what we do and why we do it’ New Statesman