Bollywood Inspired Novels
Bollywood film producers make movies for people in India and abroad. I started consuming the product in Africa although i fully appreciated it when i became a photographer and screenplay writer.
Indians at home or abroad either hate or love Bollywood films, but either way, they are great influence in the socio-political landscape. They even influence novels.
Covers Sell Books
I suppose book covers are really magnets. Sonali Dev chose an image that we have seen in almost every Bollywood movie, where brides sit quietly while someone paints their body with henna (mehndi), an extraordinary art form.
That is what prompted me to drop A Bollywood Affair in my trolley, before I went to the freezer section to pick up a duck. The cover reminded me of Vivah, directed by Sooraj Barjatya.
Krishnakant, played by Alok Nath loves Poonam (Amrita Rao), his dead brother’s daughter, but his wife Rama (Seema Biswas) hates her because she has a lighter skin, compared to her daughter ‘Chotti’ (Amrita Prakash) who is dark.
Poonam is all set to marry Prem (Shahid Kapoor), from a rich family and Krishnakant goes all out to give his niece the best wedding. His wife is so bitter, she doesn’t attend Poonam’s mehndi ceremony. This hurt Poonam a lot because she never understood why her aunt hates her so much.
Bollywood Staple Food
The first few chapters of A Bollywood Affair did not disappoint at all because it lived up to the title. It had all the ingredients of a Bollywood movie. If you follow this cinema, you will smile as you read along because the book will remind you of some Bollywood movies.
The Dirty Picture starring Vidya Balan released in 2012, Om Shanti Om starring Shah Rukh Khan and Halla Bol starring Ajay Devgan.
Filmy magazines and blogs that publish thrash
The yearly speculation that Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan are going to leave Jalsa, Abhishek’s home where his parents Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan live.
Amitabh Bachchan and his films
Eternal unfulfilled love
Characters played by Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai love the same man Devdas (Shah Rukh Khan)
Actresses that do not eat
Some actresses are proud that they are size zero
Thousands of films like Prem Granth starring Madhuri Dixit
Homes decorated for weddings (shaadi)
Too many to mention, Parineeta the 2005 film with Vidya Balan and Saif Ali Khan is one of them
A Bollywood Affair is about Malvika (Mili) who is in Michigan to better herself so that she can be the perfect wife for Virat her husband, a pilot in the Indian Air Force.
She does not know what he looks like because naani (her grandmother) and Virat’s grandfather married them when they were kids. In fact, Mili, who was four, cried her lungs out at her wedding.
Baiji, Virat’s mother later had the marriage annulled because it is illegal in India. The problem is that naani and her granddaughter Mili do not know that. Naani is always telling the 24 year-old Milli that Virat will come for her soon.
Virat cannot do that because he is happily married to Rima, who is currently pregnant. When naani hears about it, she tells Mili over the phone but secretly sues Virat for half of the property in Balpur. Virat thinks it is Mili.
Virat’s plane crashes and it is touch and go. He is scared that if he dies, Rima will not be his legal wife, if that child marriage to Mili is regarded as legal.
Samir, Virat’s half-brother who is a successful Bollywood director goes to Michigan to convince Mili to sign the annulment papers.
Virat’s father left India for further studies. He met Sara Willis and they had Samir. He died in America in a car accident and Samir’s grandfather hated the little boy, calling him a white bastard.
The ending is frustrating because readers were invited to a feast but key items on the menu are missing: naani and Samir’s screenplay.
Naani. The book is about her reasons for marrying off Mili at four, knowing very well that child marriage is illegal in India.
It is naani who suffered at the hands of Virat’s grandfather, a very cruel man.
Naani encouraged Mili to further her education in order to be a perfect pilot’s wife, but Virat never came back for her after they left Balpur.
The ending is flawed because naani was not given the chance to tell her story. Yes. There is a long paragraph where Mili tells Samir about why naani agreed to Virat’s grandfather’s dowry conditions. But surely, a woman who can sue Virat Rathod without telling her granddaughter, must have a mind of her own. It would have been super if she had emptied it for readers.
What I liked about the book is the issue about writing. Why and how we write. Where we write and obstacles to writing. Readers are entitled to an explanation about the screenplay because the book placed great emphasis on it.
Samir had been in a rut for more than a year. His mind was like clay. The script refused to sit up. Mili’s apartment, dingy as it was the catalyst for his reincarnation. Words flew off the page.
‘It’s not cynicism. It’s reality. What you’re talking about is a tidy little happy ending. Have you ever known life to be like that? ’ Page 81: A Bollywood Affair.
Samir changed the script because of the above quote. As a reader, I would like to know which script was approved by the producer. The book makes it clear that Samir was driving everyone involved in the project crazy trying to work during Diwali. His producer even warned him that if he doesn’t stop pestering the production crew, some of them might abandon the project.
Can readers at least have the movie’s title? We are not asking if it won a Filmfare Award, just the storyline of the movie since it was one of the pillars of A Bollywood Affair. Bas!