Sakina’s Kiss – Vivek Shanbhag


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Venkat answers urgent knocks on the door to his flat one evening to find two insolent young men claiming to have business with his daughter Rekha. He deals with them shortly, only to find his quiet, middle-class life upended by a bewildering set of events over the next few days.

Even as Venkat is hurled into a world of street gangs and murky journalism, we see a parallel narrative unfold of a betrayal and disappearance from long ago. Could there be a connection? Set over four mostly sleepless days, we see Venkat lose grasp of the narrative even as he loses grasp of his wife and daughter.

Exquisitely translated from the Kannada by Srinath Perur, Sakina’s Kiss is a delicate, precise meditation on the persistence of old biases—and a rattled masculinity—in India’s changing social and political landscape. Ingeniously crafted, Vivek Shanbhag interrogates the space between truth and perception in this unforgettable foray into the minefield of family life.


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