Archive for October 4, 2014


It’d been a long time since I laughed out loud while reading a book. A really long time. But Diptakirti Chaudhuri’s latest book has just about managed that. I laughed, chuckled, and nodded my head several times in the midst of reading the book. “BollyBook – The Big Book of Hindi Movie Trivia” is Diptakirti’s third book, the first one being one on cricket, and the second being the precursor to BollyBook, “Kitnay Aadmi Thay” (KAT). It was a genre shifting Bollywood book in the sense that it did not chronicle the travails of film making or profile some specific stars, but it just focused on Bollywood trivia and did a fine job of that.

BollyBook is expected to release in October, 2014. The initial idea, as Diptakirti says on his blog (, was to pitch BB (indulge me as I acronymize the book titles) as a sequel to KAT, but then his publisher at Penguin suggested the idea of a combining the two as a comprehensive and definitive book rather than having a sequel. And thus, BB was reborn in a new avatar. Just like some Bollywood characters do, some would say.

With 19 sections and nearly 460 pages that are packed with interesting trivia and more, the book can definitely live up to the claim of being the definitive book of Bollywood trivia. Good, bad, funny, dark, all sorts of trivia make up this book. Written in his inimitable style, often sparkling with humour and wit, the book is a paean of sorts to Bollywood.

Today I may count myself a fan of filmmakers such as Scorscese, Linklater, or Fincher, but my first introduction to cinema came through the works of Manmohan Desai, Yash Chopra, and others. Back then, we didn’t have a VCR or DVD at home. There were no multiplexes. Going to the movies meant walking to the neighborhood theater, 15 minutes away from home, standing in queue for “first day first shows” or “matinee shows” for a 10 or 20-rupee ticket. Satellite (cable) TV was not yet introduced in my little town. Regular TV broadcast used to a mix of very old to medium old movies. Religious festivals often heralded special community-screenings in an open-air environment where a projectionist would “show” the picture on a vertically mounted white chaddar. Regardless of the venue or the medium, we watched in awe as those larger-than-life stories unfolded on the screen. Chitrahaar, the weekly programme showcasing hit Bollywood songs, was our reason for going “TGIF”! This, in essence, is what Diptakirti would call a pre-credit backstory compression (hint: see the book to understand what this term really means) to explain my fascination for Bollywood.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s kid. The book has something for everyone. The earlier generations will nod their head at the various retro references, while the newer ones will easily connect with the new age trivia. Although the table of contents mentions lists, the book isn’t packed with boring ones, instead many trivia are presented in anecdotal form, with a surprise twist here and there. Did you know for instance that the Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha acted as second lead opposite Dharmendra in a movie named Izzat? Or that Dev Anand was an employee of the Indian Postal Service and perchance grew to know of Gurudutt who lived in the same chawl as him and became thick with him? Many more such interesting nuggets fill up the book including those about movies you thought you knew in and out, only to discover that you actually don’t.

A remarkable trait of the book is that it isn’t restricted to mentioning trivia regarding only actors and actresses, but also takes a good look at the others who play an important part in a movie’s success. In a chapter covering regional superstars, for example, the last para brings to fore the most successful crossover by a regional musician who has gone on to make a name for himself in the international arena. A. R. Rahman. That’s who.

bollybook2There’s also a whole chapter devoted to films within films, called Meta. The amount of research the author must have undertaken for this book can be gleaned from this chapter alone where he not only recounts meta and self-referencing films/directors but also points out bloopers!

All trivia and no interestingness makes a dull book. And Diptakirti is no dull author. He makes neat use of quizzes, Honorable Mentions and little Alerts (Eg, Subtle Mythology Alert) to break the pattern now and then. Chapters are also occasionally peppered with photos and posters.

All in all, for Rs. 370 – paperback or Rs. 318 (Kindle), this book packs quite a punch, just like some of our Bollywood films. If you count yourself as a Bollywood fan, this book is a must-have for your bookshelf.

Footnote: Our very own mFC finds a small mention in the section on low-profile debuts of actors.


(pic courtesy – from Diptakirti’s blog)

The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) has announced the nine scripts selected for the second edition of the National Script Lab to be running from October 2014 – March 2015.

The first screenwriting workshop will be held from October 1217, 2014 at the Courtyard Marriott, Chakan, Pune, followed by two more workshops and 1 to 1 consultation sessions over the next six months.

Marten Rabarts- Senior Consultant, Training and Development, NFDC; Olivia Stewart- Producer of The House of Mirth, Brassed Off, and script consultant on The Lunchbox and  Rajat Kapoor, writer-director of the much acclaimed Ankhon Dekhi will mentor these scriptwriters one-to-one during intensive residential workshops over the coming six months

Also as part of the National Script Lab program, the screenwriters will be able to attend NFDC’s Film Bazaar 2014 (Nov 2024) to network and introduce their upcoming projects to both the Indian and international film fraternity attending the market.

This year the Script Lab has a special focus on Youth and Children’s stories which feature strongly in the following line up.

 The Selected Writers and Scripts are:

1. Konkona Sensharma – Death In the Gunj

The acclaimed actress and the winner of two National Awards has acted in more than 40 films in Hindi, Bengali and English language.  She co-wrote and directed a short called ‘Naamkaran’ (The Christening) and anticipates this script will be her first feature as writer director, following in a family tradition established by her mother the renowned Film-maker and Actress Aparna Sen.

 2. Ranjeet Bahadur – Oddball

The editor of Rajkumar Hirani’s 3 Idiots, Sudhir Mishra’s Chameli and Ruchi Narain’s  Kal  Ranjeet has done his Post Graduation in film at Satyajit Ray Film & TV Institute, Kolkata, and now turns his attention to writing his first feature.

3. Vicky Barmecha – Naadaan

Vicky has spent the past 2.5 years working as assistant director and postproduction supervisor on Anurag Kashyap’s upcoming Bombay Velvet. He is the older brother of the Udaan actor Rajat Barmecha.

 4. Neha Sharma – Under the Skin

Neha, followed up her filmmaking studies in Capetown, South Africa with the screenwriting programme at FTII Pune. Neha has written dialogues for the TV show Ladies Special and is in active development of several feature films and documentaries. She has honed her craft as an assistant director on films such as The Dirty Picture , Agent Vinod and many others.

 5. Piyush C Panjvani – Idgah

A  Film & Television studies  grad from St. Xaviers IOC Mumbai, Piyush is a multi award winning director/producer of Ad films , shooting around the world for such mega brands as Pepsi and Samsung among others. He is currently developing a documentary on Himalayan shepherds, and will base his debut feature film on a story by Shri Mumchi Prechan.

 6. Abhaya Simha – Bhamini

Based in Bangalore, FTII graduate Abhaya has written and directed three feature films in Kannada and one in Malyalam. His      first feature film, Gubbachigalu won the National Award In 2008 for the Best Children’s Film.

 7. Rigzin Kalon – Neki Kar Kala Kala

The writer-director-producer has worked on shorts, TV , documentaries and feature films, including Ngonsum  a feature set in Ladakh based on short stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Rigzin lives between Mumbai and his native Ladakh, where he is an active figure in the development of this regions emerging cinema scene.

 8. Ruchika Lalwani – A story of Two

Is the writer of Walkaway, an independent American film with Bollywood flair made and released in the USA where she studied Film in New York. Ruchika’s student short film, I’m Afraid I am Hitler was screened and awarded at many international film festivals.

 9. Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti – Paperweight

An FTII Pune graduate in Cinematography, Sudhakar wrote, directed and shot the short film Ek Aakas, winnning the Special Jury, National Award and in 2010 his documentary short film Duel of Angels  was awarded at the prestigious IDFA in Amsterdam. He also shot Umesh Kulkarnis Deool which won Three National Awards, among a long list of other features as  a cinematographer.

(via press release)