Read to peep into the lives of the 15 creative heads of Bollywood

In BOOKS! BOOKS! & BOOKS! on December 22, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Book Review : Decoding Bollywood
15 directors. 15 stories.

Decoding Bollywood, Sonia Golani, Film Directors, 15 Stories

The challenges are as easy or as difficult for a woman director as they are for a man. The Mumbai film industry does not discriminate. All they want is someone who can deliver.
Farah Khan

We adore Bollywood (popular name for Indian film industry) as much as we are a Cricket loving nation. Recently, we became the largest movie industry in the world. Cinema in India has had a sordid history but at the same time it has churned out inspiring movies for decades now. No doubt, this fraternity which keeps us entertained is a powerhouse of creativity and talent. It gives us everything from flashy, cinematically eye-catching mainstream films to social, youthful, inspiring, heart rendering art movies.

Decoding Bollywood, a new book by author Sonia Golani is a compilation of interactions with some of the influential and important directors in India. The best part about the book is that the conversations are unpretentious, authentic and truly inspiring. We have often read interviews of actors, actresses, and directors in newspapers, magazines but this book is different.

Sonia does not touch upon their lives superficially but has tried to bring forth the turning points of their extraordinary journeys. The feature on each director is in such a way that we feel the person talking in real and this keeps the reader hooked start to finish. For those who prefer to read book in parts, they can always pick their favorites film-makers first and come back to others later.

Some of the directors included in the book are Ashutosh Gowariker, Kabir Khan, Nagesh Kukunoor, Prakash Jha, Mahesh Bhatt, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Sudhir Mishra, Vipul Shah, Farah Khan and Zoya Akhtar. Each of them has made a mark for themselves and when you read about their experiences, battles, observations and learning during their journey in the film world, you are ought to feel inspired.

Creativity is addictive like a drug… You have to be constantly creating something new to feel good.
Anurag Basu

The book brings out many courageous stories. Everyone should understand one thing that nothing comes easy in this world. The names that we talk of are the people who have fought the odds to make a living out of their passion. In the times where jobs of doctors and engineers were lucrative and no one backed for making movies, these people have trodden the least traveled path. Read Nagesh Kukunoor’s story and you would know how he quit his job not once but twice to do something that he desired, something which was not a part of the corporate rat race.

Oscars, exclusivity of 100 crore club, adventure, Corporatization, film sets, box offices and inner passion for film making is all packed in here.

Real and Riveting…


Anurag Basu was diagnosed with acute leukemia in 2004 and he underwent chemotherapy, fought with cancer and returned to give us a beautiful film ‘Barfi’. Ashutosh Gowariker would audition for folk dances. Kunal Kohli says Filmmaking is a gamble but he says he wants to go his boots on, just like his mentor Yash ji. Mahesh Bhatt is known to talk blatant and like always he doesn’t mince words. At one side he says that he is there to help new talent, he welcomes them and says that people should come to use him as a spring board for their career and it will be a mutual gain for both, but on the other side he did not help his own daughter Alia because he wanted her to know that she can compete for herself.


Honestly, I enjoyed the book and it will interest every person who loves to watch movies. Actors are the face of movies but the effort of a strong team goes in the background. And a film maker, director is the creator of it all.

Rather I would love to read more elaborate stories of many people who are behind the camera.

The book review was originally posted on Writersmelon and the interview of the Author can be read here.


Happy Reading!!!

Emotionally tugging story set against the backdrop of riots of 1984

In BOOKS! BOOKS! & BOOKS! on December 19, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Book Review : Abhisar Sharma’s latest book ‘A Hundred Lives for You’

When it comes to books, I always love to read stories that remain to flutter in my mind even after the last page is down. Stories around emotional relationships and human psyche excite me. ‘A Hundred Lives for You’ by Abhisar Sharma is one such story which takes you through an intriguing life journey of the protagonist, Abhimanyu Sharma, one who dares to tread an unconventional path. Having read Abhisar Sharma’s last two books,  this one has come to impress me most. I loved the human connect about the story and I am glad he sent me the book personally.


A hundred Live for You


The story starts around the time when Delhi had a nightmarish experience- Indira Gandhi’s assassination and the riots of 1984. While people were atrociously being killed, this book talks about a girl who took birth on that day. Before you jump to conclusions, let me clear the air that the book isn’t centrally themed around the massacre but it pictures out how such instances can affect an individual’s life.  The killings of the night and the circumstances that were created from the blind communal hatred altered Abhimanyu Sharma’s life forever.


You have to read the book for ‘Rupali’s story’ that Abhimanyu pens down at the age of thirteen. Honestly, it gripped me. The depth of words in his story was so promising that his English teacher puts forth his name for the inter school story writing competition. We see the boy happy but his parents. While things could have turned out differently for him, a girl just spoils everything for him and he is not able to take part in the competition. This loss isn’t enough when he loses a friend in his grandfather at one of the most crucial time of his life. These circumstances change the course of his life forever reaffirming the cliché that life is unpredictable. Despite of his flair for writing he decides to bury his dreams. The young boy gradually turns into a young man who is indifferent, reckless, unpredictable and rude. Sometimes you hate him but at other times you find him charming as he challenges the rules of life.  The author has created his character uniquely. Somewhere the story questions the societal pressures and vanities as well when this young boy takes his father’s criticism so strongly that he refuses admission to IIT because he wants to equal with him.


The beautiful relationship of Simran (Adopted Sikh girl) and Babu (Abhimanyu) proves that bond of love is the strongest and it wins above all. And in the last pages when the story falls in connect with the fictitious story ‘‘The Girl By The Hut’, the reader retires satiated. This creative piece of work compels you to introspect and reflect the realities and vagaries of life.  In a different light, the book also sends a message that life can never be perfectly planned. One has to live it as it comes. On the positive side, it also pictures the fact that grudges, hatred, negative energy, vested interests don’t take you far and only lead into self destruction.

Except a few typo errors, the book is well edited. A few characters were not very relevant but were needful to bind the story. The presence of a strong protagonist and his unexpected ventures in life overshadow the weak portions of the book and make it worth a read. Love and friendship have been pictured tastefully in the book. One is forced to love Abhimanyu Sharma because he goes an extra mile for the two most important people of his life, for the girl he loved and his best friend.

Happy Reading!!!

My Swiss Sojourn that ended with a DDLJ after-effect

In BOOKS! BOOKS! & BOOKS! on December 18, 2014 at 6:00 pm


Its that week of the year when Mumbai’s theater Maratha Mandir is celebrating 1000 Weeks of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Twitteratti is buzzing with DDLJ hashtags, cinema freaks are going berserk about the romantic charms of the movie and I am reminded of my DDLJ moments in the pastoral beauty of Swiss Alps.

Lucerne, Switzerland Tourism, Swiss Alps, Quaint Villages, Blue and Green Mountains

The movie had released way back on October 20, 1995 (India). Lets see what has happened since then. Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, the actors of the movie who had missed their train to Zurich and eventually had fallen in love over their month long European vacation have become super stars. The Yash Raj films who had wooed the hearts of millions have become a big and reliable name in Hindi cinema and Switzerland has not ceased to buzz with Indian crowd. No doubt Switzerland Tourism has also done their best to woo us for more. At 11000 feet, I was simply amazed to find a Bollywood restaurant at the top of Europe, JungfrauIt was Mr. Raj Kapoor who was first one to shoot his movie in Switzerland and later Mr. Yash Chopra’s movies showed that he was absolutely in fascination of Swiss beauty. Jungfrau Railways paid a tribute to his work by naming a train after him too.
Alps_On the way to Jungfrau, Switzerland, DDLJ, Swiss Alps
DDLJ will always be a special movie for everyone. I bet there is anyone in my generation who hasn’t learnt romance from DDLJ. In 2012,  6 months old in a love marriage, when my hubby mentioned Switzerland in our Europe itinerary, I clearly remember I had told him that he is the ‘Raj’ of my life.  :)  My friends and family know that I have been a Shahrukh Khan loyal forever.  In that year, I simply got lucky and visited Europe twice. The blissful Switzerland trip was romantically destined for me in the summers!

Exotic Switzerland, Exotic Locales, Alps, Switzerland Tourism, Travel

After spending 3 days in Paris, we were headed to Switzerland. I had almost gone dizzy in love at the sight of the romantically beautiful Paris from the top of Eiffel Tower but in Switzerland I almost cried in love. Nature’s beauty is at its best and one is left awestruck admiring snow-capped mountains, beautiful Swiss cottages lush green Alpine meadows and the dotted  villages which give the finest sights of nature. Once we landed in Zurich, I really went crazy. I even told hubby that I want to do everything that Kajol did right from missing train, singing songs to dancing in the background of snow capped alps, grandiose castle and Romanesque architecture.
Mt. Titlis_Switzerland, Mt. Titlis, Rotaair, Switzerland Travel


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