Book Review: Bollywood Fiancé For A Day
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Mills&Boon (M&B) are books that a girl apparently grows up with but fortunately or unfortunately, my reading group in school – we grew up looking down on M&B. Even though reading wasn’t that cool in the 90s, we beleived we were too cool to be reading about love struck petite heroines and love deflecting hot heroes.
The first time I read (a part of) a M&B was (preposterous as it may sound) when I was forced to read a chapter during the hostel ragging.
And boy it did blow my mind away – it was steamy beyond the imagination of my 18 year old mind (inspite of being on a Sidney Sheldon staple diet those days). Ragging over, I never found time to catch up on my lost M&B days. A case of, as Frank Zappa said, ‘So many books, So little time.’
Bottom line: I have never had a chance to be a M&B fan and had never read a M&B cover to cover before this one. The first time I heard that Harlequin has entered the Indian market, customizing the stories for the Indian readership and deriving stories from the land of kamasutra was from the first M&B Indian writer Milan Vohra. It was intriguing and exciting to know that Indian writers could possibly be streaming up the M&B pages, though I never got around to buying her book. Time passed and one day Harlequin turns up offering review copy of a M&B by an Indian writer!! Presto the offer was accepted. The secret plans of having some M&Bs tucked away on the book shelf were back again. Though I was expecting fellow Pensiever and book critic team member Adite Banerjie‘s book, what landed in my mail box was Ruchi Vasudeva‘s debut Bollywood Fiancé For A Day (BFFAD).
First things first – Kudos to the model selectors, I loved the male model on the cover. He completely matches the character description of Zaheer Saxena and the intrigue remained about what is he up to, probably it was the model’s curved lips and the mysterious smile – but it did the trick for the book. BFFAD is the story of passion, bottled up desires and the game of resistance (signature M&Bish) featuring Bollywood heartthrob Zaheer Saxena and small town girl Dr. Vishakha. Our heroine is in the midst of an emotional crisis dealing with the heartbreak of her fiancé running away with her sister, when she lands up as the winner of a contest that offers her a date with Bollywood star Zaheer Saxena. She is desperate to run away from her miserable, on-ventilator heart and the hero is being the star that he is – late comer, charming and unregretfull. As he is about to cut short their arranged date due to his schedule exigencies, the sharp toungued Vishskha and the sharp witted Zaheer engage in a war of words. She demands a date with him and he obliges, only the cassanova heartthrob miscalculates an ailing heart’s intentions.
Date over and backfired, Dr. Vishskha is back with her patients in Lucknow and Zaheer is back on his sets only to land up in…Lucknow. Her desperation for the date and the coldness thereafter has sparked of his intrigue radar to unravel the why. Besides the tabloid report of his picture with Vishakha and his taking off with her for a private date had sown an idea in his mind to wade off his problem – of wading off unwanted female attention. He was in Lucknow not just for the why, he was there to strike a deal. An unusual one, but a mutually beneficial one. The deal is to pose as a couple – so she gets to save her face and avoid all sympathetic glares and words at her sister’s wedding with her ex-fiancé while he gets to avoid all the unwanted female attention and concentrate on his film. A perfect setting. A perfect deal. Except that he is becoming more and more irreristable for her and he is ending up opening up all his demons to her.
BFFAD is a smooth read, nearly a page turner. It is sprinkled with good doses of passion, emotions, conflicts and even reality to an extent.
Though I would have liked to see a more realistic reaction to a middle class small town family accepting/ rejecting a Bollywood heartthrob with a playboy image as their prospective son-in-law. The narration is smooth, the language good and editing tight. The reel magician hero meeting the grounded guarded heroine makes a magical connotation. Ruchi is good in her debut and manages to keep the reader hooked till the end. Owing to her characterization and situation buildups, though the climax is as conventional as any M&B’s climax supposedly is, the reader remains hooked to know how will the stubborn and layered Zaheer listen to his heart or how will the hurt yet passionate Vishakha hold herself back? On the flip side the book lacks the fabeled M&Bish passion. BFFAD is more about conflicts and a few passion erruptions than an underlying, sizzling chemistry.
Looking for a light, easy, toe tingling read? Recommended.
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