I am reading Maximum City
by Suketu Mehta and it's utterly fascinating. It's a non-fiction account by an author, who returned to Bombay for a time, of his time in the city. It's utterly mesmerizing because he met all sorts of people, from mobsters to monks, from politicians to movie stars.
It also made me realize I'd never ever want to live there.
The section of most interest to me was the Bollywood section (of course). Mehta was one of the screen-writers on Mission Kashmir
and he became friends with the director/producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra. He met a bunch of Bollywood personalities, including Amitabh and SRK, but the ones he writes about most are VVC, Sanjay Dutt and Hrithik Roshan (as they starred in the movie so he got to see the most of them).
VVC sounds fascinating, and Mehta's descriptions of contortions one has to go through to make the movie acceptable to everyone (VVC doesn't want the militants to bomb his house, or the government to give it an adult certificate. He can't have fade-outs in his movie because the audience will think the light is going) is crazy. thelana
, have you read this? I know you really like Sanjay Dutt, and Mehta talks about him quite a bit, and you can tell he really likes him. He goes a bit into his messed-up background and I didn't know any of it, so it's quite interesting. Hey, aliterati
, he likes Hrithik too (you get the sense he feels almost sorry for him though, with all the crazy Hrithikmania, and the mob shooting and Nepal riots).
There are some things I, as a Bollyhollic, found especially interesting. One is that apparently Abu Salem (the exiled gang lord) threatened VVC with death during the movie and it's Sanjay Dutt who got him to call it off (doing the whole 'I went to jail for you, you owe me favors' thing). No wonder VVC seems to be pretty close with Sanjay since: he was in Parineeta, Munnabhai and upcoming Eklavya.
Mehta also talked to Sanjay about his jail time and it's totally fascinating. I found the whole half-adored, half-scornful atittude towards Bollywood people have really interesting.
The ties of Bollywood with the mob are really interesting and Mehta talks about the symbiosis between the two. He also mentions that apparently Hrithik agreed to do a movie for the mob, as a result of his father's shooting, to protect the family. If it did go through, I am trying to figute out which one it was. That would certainly be an alternative explanation to at least one of the horrible movies he did past MK. I know it can't be Yaadein or MPKDH as those are with huge banners, so mob wouldn't need to shoot his father to talk him into it. I wonder if it's Na Tum Jaano Na Hum or AMALL? Being a mob movie would certainly explain the atrocity that is AMALL.
He also mentions various manifestations of Hrithikmania which made me LOL. My favorite was some school principal's proposal to use him for educational purposes, like teaching that 'Bombay is the capital of Maharashtra, where Hrithik comes from' or 'the longest bone in Hrithik Roshan's body is a femur.' ROFL.