26 February, 2015

#BookReview :: HiFi in Bollywood by Rishi Vohra


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! 

After reading (and liking) Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai by Rishi Vohra, I was looking forward to reading his next. Needless to say, I picked this one up with certain expectations.

HiFi in Bollywood is the story of Rayhan Arora, who has always dreamt of making it big in the tinsel town of India and make his own space in the film industry. But like most Indian parents, his father has different plans for him. As a result, Rayhan is sent off to take on the financial world in US and a probable marriage to Vanita, a medical intern there. But Rayhan, with the help of his savings and his friends, moves down to Mumbai, unbeknownst to his father. There he struggles to land on his feet while encountering a myriad of characters including Violet. Will he survive the struggle or will he give in?

The best part of the book is Rayhan. His character is lively, real and loveable. I also liked the way his father influenced his story. It is so true that even today most parents try to live their aspirations through their children instead of giving them the choice of choosing their own path. It is probably the story of one in every two Indians. I also liked the way author has described the various settings, situations and locations. It made the story come alive in front of my eyes. The many characters brought in different flavours to the story. I loved how different each one was and how each of them had a different roles to play in Rayhan’s journey.

The plot though is very predictable including the big twist in the story. Also, apart from the protagonist, the other characters felt falling a bit short. They should have been developed a bit more. Also, the book dragged a bit in the end. Despite the few drawbacks this book makes for an entertaining read due to the humour infused in the story. There were moments that made me laugh out loud and moments that made me think. The author has done a good job of balancing out the fun and the seriousness in the novel. It did not get too heavy at any point and neither the humour felt forced.

Overall, this book is worth one time light read. 

Review Copy received from Jaico Publishing House

1 comment:

  1. Seems like a story people will connect to, added to my tbr list