Sunday, July 22, 2012

Kitnay Aadmi Thay? Completely Useless Bollywood Trivia by Diptakirti Chaudhuri: Book Review




Growing up in India, one invariably grows up under the shadow of Bollywood and it’s not uncommon to see crazy movie fans line up outside theatres to watch the “first day, first show” (thought now you can conveniently book your tickets on the internet), memorizing dialogues, and challenging friends with who knows more about Hindi films and their actors. Despite Bollywood (a word now added to the Oxford Dictionary) being such a driving force in this country, surprisingly I’m not much of a movie watcher. Yes, I watched all the Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna super hits on TV while growing up, but even today ask me to go watch a film at a hall and eight times out of ten you can be sure, I’ll make an unpleasant face.

So when I was asked to review Diptakirti’s book on Bollywood trivia, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy it. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that once I started, it was hard to stop. In his book, Diptakirti has meticulously come up with 50 lists and 500 entries of interesting trivia, which can only be the work of an avid movie watcher and a true fan- in short, a Bollywood fans wildest dream come true!

Kitnay Aadmi Thay? spans Bollywood right from the 1950’s to now and gives you juicy nuggets of information that makes you go “really!” What I most loved about the book is Diptakirti’s writing style, which is hilarious and ensured that I laughed (out loud) my way thought it. The book touches topics like the Ten best movies to have not been made, Films within films, The (much stereotyped) portrayal of mothers, fathers, siblings and friends in Bollywood, and my favourite, Brand placements in Bollywood- where Diptakirti has mentioned hilarious moments from well known films-making me burst out laughing, thanks to which I got curious looks from colleagues at work, while sneakily reading the book in office.

I would highly recommend you read Kitnay Aadmi Thay?- Crazy Bollywood fan or not, given Diptakirti’s infectious love for cinema and the detailed and passionate research that has gone in, bringing to you a gem of a book on all things Bollywood.

Westland Books organized a meeting with Diptakirti at Zura, a lovely bistro and bakery in Gurgaon where we got a chance to interact with the author over lunch, where we learned about his love for Hindi cinema and how he had watched Sholay in bits and pieces over the span of a few days as a little boy. Lunch was a leisurely, sit down affair at Zura, and apart from providing us excellent food, had a wonderful relaxing ambience which was just perfect for such a gathering.

(This is a book review requested by the publisher)


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