10 June, 2013

#BookReview :: Seriously Sitara by Nishat Fatima

Sitara Gopalasundaram – single, high-minded, just-over thirty, arts editor of Hommemagazine, with a mop of uncontrollable hair and no time for Bollywood types – is seriously upset.

Commanded to unearth the story behind Bollywood superstud Nasser Khan’s much-talked-about reclusive status, following the break-up of his long-standing engagement to a cinematic bimbette, is nothing short of a nightmare for someone who can’t quite tell her Khans apart.

Things get worse as what she had hoped would be a one-time, never-again, meeting turns out to be the first of a series of strange encounters, as fate keep throwing her back into the arms of Bollywood’s reigning pin-up boy. Blown away by the high octane world of showbiz, Sitara still thinks she can get her life back to its normal humdrum routine. Seriously?

After a particularly long and rough week, I was looking forward to a light and fun weekend. The moment this book landed up on my doorstep, I knew that this was the one that I wanted to read over the weekend.

Let’s start this review with something that is unusual for my reviews - he book cover. Yep! By now you guys know that book covers hardly matter to me. You can give me a book without its cover or a disgusting one, and I’d gobble it up all the same. The cover of the book hardly ever reflects the quality of the story inside.  But in this case, when I opened the package, the brightly coloured cover and the fun fonts used on the back, had my attention. Like I said, after the week I have had, the quirky cover immediately put a smile on my face and sealed the deal for the weekend. Sitara’s hair and what I assumed were the contents of her purse is what takes up the cover and coupled with its title makes you feel that it will be a light read. I was ready to say ‘Seriously, Sitara?’ over the weekend in an instant.

Sitara Gopalasundaram hails from a typical middleclass family from Chennai. Her working as an Arts Editor Homme Magazine and living alone in Mumbai had raised quite a few eyebrows. Yet she is an independent woman who is still single at thirty something and she knows what she wants. Well, most of the times. What she doesn’t want is to be set up with innumerable ‘eligible’ bachelors by her parents and Aunt and what she wants is to land up an interview with a leading artist for her magazine. So when her boss sets her up to do the cover story by interviewing the ‘leading’ Khan of Bollywood she is less than thrilled. Nasser Khan is the leading but reclusive star of Bollywood. His recent break up with one of his leading ladies has been the topic of the town. He plans to take a break soon, but before that he has to do an interview and attend an award ceremony. Getting locked up in his hotel bedroom with a haughty journalist wasn’t the part of the plan. Over the next few days, the paths of these polar opposites cross over and over again and they always seem to rub each other the wrong way.

What happens to them is what this story is all about. The storyline is simple and predictable. I mean after reading the back of the book, you know how it is going to end. But reading the story and following Sitara and Nasser’s journey to finding each other was quite an experience. The ups and downs and the misunderstandings made me feel elated and frustrated over the time. And there were couple of ‘Seriously, Sitara?’ moments too. The characters of the story are well developed. Besides Sitara, there are a few characters I really liked. For instance, Naeem , Shiv and Maya often cracked me up. I also liked Ayesha and Bashir, Nasser’s parents.

I have to admit though, following the tested formula for love stories, the plot may not have much to offer. There are few clichéd moments and dialogues and the number of coincidences is a bit too much. But the author’s writing style and the quirks of the characters keep it interesting and fun.

Buy the Book

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