Bombay Duck is a fish by Kanika Dhillon
When the book arrived, it landed in my sister hands. She read the summary at the back of the book. “You will not like the book”, she said to me.
Looking at my puzzled expression, “It’s about Bollywood”, she added.
“You never know”, I replied. And that turned out to be true coz as soon as I started reading it, I kind of liked it.
The book starts with the backdrop of a Neki standing on the terrace of her building, drunk and depressed. While sitting there, she is contemplating suicide. But before leaping she thinks of revisiting her life till the day. Her diary which she calls Nano helps her in recalling the happy and sad moments. As she starts reading it, the story actually begins.
Neki is a small-town girl, who dreams of Bollywood, against her parent’s wishes. But she is determined and leaves Delhi leaving behind disappointment in her father’s eyes and glitter of hope in her mother’s. She lands in Mumbai among a gang of three girls who themselves are trying to find their future in their profession. Finally she gets the opportunity to join Fiza Kareem (aka Farah Khan) as last assistant director(AD).
Slowly she comes across the true face of Bollywood, ambitions, struggle even to the highest of the stars, the desperation to reach the top, the sleazy business behind the glittering stage, love and betrayal.
As she tries to adjust in her new life she fells in love with the second lead of the film who is himself struggling to give a hit movie. But at the same time there are rumours about the various women in his life. In spite of the rumours Neki fells hard for him. The story revolves around her love, the film, her struggle to move up the ladder, emails to her mother and her three flatmates.
The author is quite frank while writing about the film fraternity however I am much amused by how all the actors are introduced with a negative trait except for two people, Fiza Kareem & Shah Rukh Khan. As we read the book, we understand that Neki dreams big. She really doesn't want to be the last AD. She is ready for the struggle, does her every bit. Fights for her right. But still she takes the decision to commit suicide which surprises me.
The whole story totally blends and takes us smoothly till the end. The dark details of the glamor industry, the Bollywood masala makes the book interesting. The most commendable part is author’s character building which is very strong. Unlike authors who write pages to describe a single characher, Kanika has done the job well with spending less words on it but has effectively brought the charachers to life. The story constantly moves between past and present but is handled quite well without any confusion. I liked the way she has played with the words. At many places, her writing intrigues us and comes as very thoughtful and subtle. I enjoyed reading it. For Bollywood fans, it’s a must.
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