Saturday, 4 April 2015

Book Review Hifi In bollywood by Rishi Vohra


About the Book:

"AN ASPIRING FILMMAKER. THE DIZZYING HEIGHTS OF BOLLYWOOD. AND A STRAINED FATHER-SON RELATIONSHIP"

Image Source: Goodreads
Rayhan Arora’s long cherished dream is to be a filmmaker in the Hindi Film Industry but his formidable father has other plans… a successful financial career in Corporate America, and a marriage of convenience with Vanita, a medical student in the US. 

In a final act of desperation, Rayhan abandons his promising life in California and secretly returns to Mumbai to work as an Assistant Director in Bollywood. The characters he encounters along the way become part of his journey of self-discovery - a self-proclaimed local goon with a penchant for acting; a powerful local politician who wants to marry Rayhan's part-time domestic help, who in turn covets stardom; an angst-ridden, homosexual film director; ego-ridden film stars with twisted agendas; and the mysterious Viola who captures his heart. 

HiFi in Bollywood takes the reader from the streets of Berkeley to the film studios of Mumbai; from red-light areas to police stations, and from reality to dreams and back to reality again
Paperback, 264 pages
Published January 15th 2015 by Jaico Books


About the Author:

Rishi Vohra relocated back to Mumbai after completing a Green MBA from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law, prior to which he had an extensive career in the Indian Entertainment Industry. His debut novel Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai was a bestseller and awarded a special mention at the Hollywood Book Festival. He writes for delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW). Visit him at www.rishivohra.com


My Review:

Hifi in Bollywood follows the journey of a person, Rayhan who aspires to be a director in Bollywood. There are multiple things and variables at play here: for one, we have an incorrigible and apparently vain father who does not approve of the dreams, and has instead sent his son to get professional qualifications for a decent job, then we have his attempts to fix his son's match with a medical student in US. 
This is the crucial point where the novel picks pace, Rayhan takes a call and heads to India to pursue his dreams. As is obvious, the roller-coaster ride has now begun. He starts by exploiting all his contacts, and soon lands up as an assistant director on one of the prominent sets. Turns out he is not the only one harboring dreams, when his domestic help also expresses her dire desire to act in Bollywood movies, and so does the local gunda Peter Bhai. 
At this point, I think, It could have been either a hilarious ride, or a very serious plot with some scheming and plotting, However, the author chose the middle path, which to me as a reader was confusing.
The plot and the the big twist was cliche and so obvious, it made it anti-climactic.
As for the characters, while some character sketches are worth commendation like Rayhan, his father, the domestic help, Peter bhai, others like the director and actors, his father's friends, among others have not been etched meticulously perhaps because they were being thought of as the side-characters. 


The eccentricities of Mumbai life have been brought out in a humourous way.
For a bollywood plot  lover, reading this would be heaven and s/e might enjoy it leaps and bounds, but for me, who is not so much into Bollywood (the cliche one), it was a fun, one-time read. I probably had very high expectations because of Jaico and the name of the author, 

The novel is a very careful balance of content which neither delights/surprises you, nor annoys you. And, I opine that is both the perk and the peril of playing safe with a plot such as this one.

Judgement:
A great read for a bollywood fanatic, a one-time read otherwise.

Best lines:
No matter where one lived in the city, one could always smell the sea in the air.

Links:







I received a copy of HiFi in Bollywood by Rishi Vohra in exchange for an honest review. I thank Rishi for the book!






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