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Lights Camera Masala

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By: Praveen Lance Fernandes, IndiaFM

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Does another book on Indian cinema interest you? Another book on Bollywood has hit the stands - This time conceptualized by noted photographer Sheena Sippy, written by journalist Naman Ramachandran and designed by Divya Thakur.

So is this book on Bollywood any different from the numerous books already in the market? Does a glossy and glamorous layout make a difference? Has the Sippy influence made a difference in terms of obtaining content from a variety of stars? Read on...

First and foremost, this is not just any book. It is a coffee table book. Secondly, though it might sound strange but this book actually has a 'screenplay'. Umm...What? You might wonder.

Though non-fiction, Ramachandran decided to add more masala in it by adding a bit of invented story in it. So how does one go about making a hard-core commercial masala book in the largest film producing country in the world? We move along with the adventures of Vijay and Ravi - 2 fictitious characters who want to make a film. Follow them on a journey through their experiences in the industry.

In their exploring journey they meet celebrities like Salim-Javed, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Ramesh Sippy, Karan Johar, etc. who talk about their experiences in the industry et all. However, after chatting with the already glorified stars, the book flows towards the unsung heroes of Bollywood from the light boys, make-up artists, action directors, etc. A detailed portion dedicated towards these machine operators is very interesting.

In terms of textual content, there is nothing really out of the world but what is interesting is the presentation of the book. Flowing against the tide, if anything has to capture your attention it definitely has to be the creative, unconventional and novel layout of the book thereby qualifying for sure 'Collector's item' tag. A star searching spinning wheel, a transparent (negative sort of) picture of Abhishek Bachchan and Riteish Deshmukh, an attached movie poster and a reproduction of an Abhishek fan mail with an attached envelope as well makes you laud the designer(s). Even the conversation between Ravi and Vijay are in the form of a scene written in a script which brings me to my point of the book being in the form of a screenplay. The gloss and the glitz of the book make it really interesting and give a treat to your eyes and mind.

The book boasts of a number of photographs - some old some new. Some unseen ones are really interesting including the ones during the making of Sholay. A special mention to Sheena Sippy who has captured some of today's stars with great finesse. Sippy's stunningly evocative photographs speak the language of Bollywood and for this reason; you can call it a visual extravaganza.

Coming back to textual content, apart from the Vijay and Ravi bit, there isn't really anything fresh or new that we don't read everyday in a tabloid. The author focuses more on the glamour element of the hot and happening celebrities of filmdom rather than some of the old and forgotten veterans of the industry. Nonetheless, with so much of it packed inside one binding, it provides one with a good read.

Glitz and Glamour, the book is definitely something to look forward on a nice, lazy day. But don't expect to increase your Bollywood know-how by a massive scale in this one.

Priced at Rs. 1995, the book is available at all leading book stores. 

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