Its background is Indira Gandhi's push for population control in the early 1970s, but The Painter of Signs remains a private story, a finely wrought study of the course of an infatuation, but also of everyday life, of a household and a local community. Neither comedy nor tragedy, it sensitively and gently mixes humour with the bittersweetnesses of possibility and inevitability. We can't help but sympathise with the characters, no matter how constrained their lives may seem.
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