Friday, October 2, 2015

#BookReview: HiFi in Bollywood by Rishi Vohra

On the jacket:

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


I'd read Rishi Vohra's Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai and was pretty impressed with the book. Having read it, I was looking forward to reading his next. So when Vohra approached me for a review, I didn't think before accepting. However, because of quite a few pressing reasons, the review got delayed for which I owe the author an apology. 

HiFi in Bollywood has a very attractive cover which deserves a mention. the story is about a young lad, Rayhan who wants to be a film maker and is a rebel by nature. With Rayhan, the reader travels from Berkeley to Mumbai, where he comes to realize his dreams. While reading about Berkeley was fun, the part from where Rayhan's stay in Mumbai begins, it seems a little stereotypical. This could be because of familiarity. I started the book warming up to Rayhan, he was quite a likeable guy but once his career advances and life changes, he becomes quite the opposite. You can idetify with the young man trying hard to achieve his dreams against all odds but what will throw you off guards is how to blend with the situations, he changes himself for the worst.

Vohra's first attempt with fiction set the bar pretty high. While there the plot and the treatment given to it was nouvel, here the story is pretty much an old wine in a new bottle. However, the style of writing and character building is commendable.
Overall a pretty decent read.

Rating: ***/5

[This is an author request review. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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