Off late,I have come across many who bravely gave up their boring high-paying (or not) corporate jobs to follow their dreams or house wives who managed to turn their passions into small-scale businesses! While their stories are very motivating to read, I always wonder how they do it – one must either have nothing to lose or probably everything to lose right? And we all know that the latter is always harder.
Hi-Fi Bollywood’s young protagonist Rayhan risks his future; a future that has been invested in and planned meticulously by his dominating father. He throws it away to follow his dream of making it as a director in big bad Bollywood! What he throws away will shock most parents – a finance degree from Berkeley – California that he never wanted in the first place and his father’s choice of a prospective bride, a budding young med school student that de does not want to marry.
With some help from his cousin, he leaves America for Mumbai and lands a job as an assistant director to one of the biggest romantic directors of Bollywood, Saajan B (A take on Sanjay Leela Bhansali? Maybe not, but it seemed like that to me). Soon he finds himself in the midst of a power struggle between Bollywood’s leading man and lady, tries to stay clear of a frustrated gay director who seems to be on the brink of a personal and professional of melt down, falls in love with fellow assistant director, Viola and helps a local political honcho who is in love with his maids daughter!! And this while maintaining the illusion of still being the States for his father the entire time! Does he make it? Will Rayhan survive the big bad world of HiFi (Hindi Film industry) filled with king makers and breakers? Will Rayhan muster up enough courage to stand up to his father and will a father accept and approve the dreams and ambitions of his son that so different from his own? ? Read about this and more in this coming of age novel that weaves its tale around following your dreams.
This book is a very light read in comparison to the authors debut, “Once upon the tracks of Mumbai“. While OUTTM was filled with strong characters that had a lot of depth and dealt with the issues of the mind and the country, this book which seems to have been inspired by the authors own life makes you laugh with its humorous take on one of life’s most important decisions. None of the characters seem to be complex or confusing and bear resemblances to the folks that one might know from real life. While they shock us sometimes, they also manage to make us laugh, smile, feel loved and complete.
As with his previous book, Vohra has made Mumbai the backdrop of the entire plot and like his previous book, it seems like Mumbai is a character by itself and not merely a location. At one point it is Rahyans old buddy making him feel at home and at other times it speaks many dialects and has a vibrant culture that never ceases to amaze. The various shades of Mumbai have been painted beautifully in words and I was left wishing that I could have lived there.
Soft spoken Rayhan is very loveable and the earnestness with which he pursues his lifelong dream is commendable. What impressed me more was the fact that he did not want to disappoint his father, despite the lack of support from his father in this regard. In fact he waits patiently for his acceptance and approval. He completes the finance degree because that is what his father wished for before pursuing his own dreams… Very touching indeed.
The book also throws light on the plight of actresses in the Hindi Film industry. It doesn’t matter even if one is a talented superstar, the fate of most actresses seem to be influenced by what they can and cannot do for their male co-stars and others around them. In other words, the nasty casting couch! And this was communicated loud and clear by the end of the book. What I also enjoyed about the book was the authors attention to detail while describing film sets, camera angles and the shooting process of a movie.
The language was simple and the various characters and tiny plots have been weaved together very well. The cover is apt and anybody buying this book can understand that this is fun read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was all about doing what one is passionate about and I am pretty sure that many youngsters out there who value this concept would feel the same way. The book would make a great travel companion and will definitely bring a smile to your face when you are feeling down or lost and more essentially, will remind you of your dreams!
Thanks to Rishi Vohra for providing me a signed copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
You can learn more about Rishi and his works at rishivohra.com