Anupama Chopra compiles her writings from the Bollywood Trenches over more than 3 decades in this landmark book on Indian cinema.
Cricket & Bollywood are two grand unifying forces in India. Between the 2 of them, they manage to build TRP's, sell products and rake in millions of moolah.
They are the subject of all conversations and a big section of the news industry.
Anupama Chopra is a film journalist, married to Vigho Vinod Chopra. She has keenly observed and critiqued the industry through its many phases- the "Iss Story mein emotion hai, tragedy hai" to "come fall in love" to "the King of Bollywood".
Over these writings, she takes us through the making of the movies Sholay and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaenge and also a timeline of landmark movies.
The good part is she covers the movies that were not so successful too- especially if they prove to be a certain milestone in the industry.
She talks candidly of the involvement of mafia and the ways in which one certain actor has been threatened when one did not keep one's commitments. Or the fine art of copying music or script. Or dubbed IFFI as cut to yawns.
I love Mithun da's business sense- bulk dates in exchange for shooting in Ooty - where he has his real estate business.
Clearly the author has a soft corner for SRK- not surprising- most of us have that! I love the sections on Sharukh Khan- Shah rukh is someone you can relate to. He could be any of us yet he is a star and he loves being a star- that is what I love about him. He is unapologetically a star.
Coming to Khans- there is yet another Khan who has a chapter devoted to him- Aamir- or rather the principles of Aamir. A must read set of commandments for any one who wants to shine in one's workspace or life.
"Every scene is a do or die
Of course the book cannot be complete without Amitabh Bachhan- the rise and come back and the even better come back with a bang of Amitabh and endearing references like how the prayers of the nation join to appease the Gods everytime he falls sick.
As she courses through the history of Bollywood, she charts out the evolving of the women of Bollywood- from the evergreen Rekha to the perfectionist Madhuri to Kajol, Aishwarya, Rani and Kareena.
Some of her reviews are hilarious. Like about the ones that are so bad they are good- the gloriously, deliriously, monstrously bad ones. Like Mother- the one for which Randhir Kapoor has reportedly told -give me adequate warning before it released, so that i can leave town.
Or Johnny Gaddar- I recommend that you see it. When you get bored, you can always play spot the reference.
Or Teesri Aankh- The audience is forced to ask questions- who finances these movies, who watches them ....and the biggest mystery- why doesn't sunny deol get a better hairpiece
The book comprises writings that have been published earlier- they have not been edited to current context so yes to that extent they are dated. But for those who are interested in exploring the world of Bollywood- yes it is full of masala.