Patrick Swayze: Actor of ‘Joy’

A recent tweet by Shashi Tharoor, India's Minister of State for External Affairs, got him in trouble, but the tweet that caught my attention was this: "RIP Patrick Swayze – hardly any obit mentions "City of Joy" – took real career courage for him to do a film like that, and he was good in it."

I couldn't agree more. While the obits mention his roles in "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost," the two movies that brought him the most acclaim, it was the 1992 Calcutta-set "City of Joy" that left a lasting impression on me. Not only did Swayze act well in the movie, so did Om Puri and Shabana Azmi. I remember leaving the movie theater with the feeling that I had gained a new perspective on life. It wasn't nominated for any Oscars, but it was definitely a good movie. I loved the fact that when it ended, unlike so many other movies, my friends didn't have to nudge me awake.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through and You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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