At the usual ‘chai’ time in the office cafeteria, the bratty bunch got to ‘gossiping’ about Bollywood: the controversies, link ups, who is cheating on whom blah blah blah! The topic of discussion was the genealogy of SRK’s son Abram and it ended at the yesteryear heart throb Dimple Kapadia. I committed this ultimate sin by uttering the words “Duh, really, I didn’t know this”. The looks I got ranged from “Were you born yesterday?” to “Do you live on an island bro?”. To make matters worse, they know about my connection to Bollywood. In that light my ignorance was sacrilege!
My maternal grandfather used to work in Roopkala Pictures as a production manager and he later produced a film called Ek Hasina Do Diwane in 1972 under his own banner RG films. The film bombed and I don’t think he went back to working in the industry again. All this was some years before I was born. I had a very formal relationship with my maternal grandfather. He used to visit home often to meet us, but I never really got to discussing movies or hearing his stories. My exposure to Bollywood was limited to the stories I heard from my mother and looking at the photographs of my parents’ wedding that was graced by stars like Shashi Kapoor and Jitendra.
In the pre-internet days, the source of movie gossip was always film magazines. Every month a close family friend used to get a bunch of these from his office library for my mom and uncle. I was usually the last one to get a quick sneak peek at these. (The likes of ‘Debonair’ were out of reach…but not for long!) As I grew up, reading about Bollywood was considered ‘uncool’ and I moved away from it, though my love for movie watching has stayed with me all along.
Thanks to the social media boom now, film gossip is omnipresent. News like what the stars are wearing to the airport are trending these days and their twitter feeds are news themselves! However, I find myself reluctant to follow every bit of this so called ‘news’. Although so much is written and spoken about these people, we still want to know more. If it is a plain serious book about an actor or actress’s life it will not hold the regular reader’s interest. What sells is gossip, news that needs to be consumed and probably forgotten.
So how am I tackling my lack of Bollywood Quotient (BQ)? Surely not by reading film magazines or gossip blogs, but by reading the books by and on film personalities or movies. Earlier, I had read the book about making of the classic movie ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’ by Jai Arjun Singh. It was a fascinating book, about what went into making this movie. The scenes you thought were the best in the movie actually turn out to be accidentally shot or improvised on due to non availability of resources! Did you know that this technically was Anupam Kher’s first movie and not Saransh! This movie was funded by NFDC and they had strict guidelines on the length of the film. Mr Kher’s part added few mins extra to the prescribed length and hence he had to be edited out! The book is peppered with such anecdotes. Subjects like these have really caught my interest as to what went behind the scenes while making moves
Recently, I read Rishi Kapoor’s autobiography, and this has piqued my interest in knowing more about the lives of stars too. How to they handle all this adulation? What do they go through when people gossip about them? I felt Mr Kapoor was quite guarded in this book about a lot of things. However, it was a good glimpse into the life of the ‘son of a famous father and father to a famous son!’
I have already started building up my ‘to read’ queue in this genre. If you have a ready list then do share in the comments section! The more the merrier!