Saturday, 14 July 2018

Bombay Heights - Sleepless in the City of Dreams

Releasing a new book is always a thrill. You're excited to show off your work to the world and also nervous about it. Will readers like it? Or God forbid, will they hate it?

Bombay Heights is my first new release as an Indie author. And that makes it even more special.

The book is my tribute to a city that will always hold a special place for me. Bombay. The city I grew up in. Though the story does not have any autobiographical elements to it, the City of Dreams plays a very important part in the lives of my characters - Sanjana, the small town girl who is chasing her dreams and running away from some personal issues. Ashwin, the big city dude who's flirtatious and fun but he is not all eye-candy either. Then there is Mrs. Jeroobai Wadia, who is a bridge between the old Bombay and the modern Mumbai. And last but not the least, there's a tiny fur ball named Dumbass and he too has his own little backstory!

But more about the characters in a later post. Here's a look at the cover picture and the blurb. 

A feel-good romantic comedy

Small town girl Sanjana Kale wants a fresh start in Mumbai. A challenging job and some much needed distance from her ludicrously over protective family could get her life under control.

Forced to team up with video game designer Ashwin Deo, who is too attractive for his own good, she finds life becoming a whole lot more complicated when he turns out to be her new neighbour. How can she maintain a professional distance with this charming troublemaker who believes in getting up close and personal?

To make matters worse, her ex treis to manipulate her loved ones to work his way back into her life. Hysterical siblings, a cantankerous client, an ex who won't take no for an answer, and a blow hot blow cold neighbour...Sanjana is sleepless in the City of Dreams! Can she do what Ashwin dares her to--create a few ripples even if it upsets her family?


If you love romantic comedies with a lot of banter between the lead pair and humorous situations, you will enjoy Bombay Heights.


For now, I leave you with a classic song that is so quintessentially "Bombay"!

Have a Great Day!




Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Cover Reveal of "Bombay Heights"

As the release day of my romantic comedy novel, Bombay Heights, draws closer, it's time to unveil the cover and reveal the blurb!

It's an exciting moment for me and I hope you all will love the cover. Many thanks to the TBC team for sharing this moment with me!


So, without further ado, here goes...


Bombay Heights -- Sleepless in the City of Dreams


Small town girl Sanjana Kale wants a fresh start in Mumbai. A challenging job and some much needed distance from her ludicrously over-protective family could get her life under control.


Forced to team up with video game designer Ashwin Deo, who is too attractive for his own good, she finds life becoming a whole lot more complicated when he turns out to be her new neighbour. How can she maintain a professional distance with this charming troublemaker who believes in getting up close and personal?


To make matters worse, her ex tries to manipulate her loved ones to work his way back into her life. Hysterical siblings, a cantankerous client, an ex who will not take no for an answer, and a blow hot blow cold neighbour... Sanjana is sleepless in the City of Dreams! Can she do what Ashwin dares her to--create a few ripples even if it upsets her family?

And now for the Cover....




Watch out for the Release of the Book on Amazon on 9th July, 2018

Sunday, 1 July 2018

The Invaluable Value of the Pen - Salaam Salim Saab (Episode #3)




“There will come a day when a writer will be paid as much money as the hero.” Those were the famous words uttered by Master Writer Salim Khan to a professional associate. His words were proved wrong—but in a good way—years later when he and his writing partner, Javed Akhtar Saab actually drew a fee not equal to but more than what the hero was paid for a film that they scripted.  
 
How did this miracle happen in an industry that is notorious for undervaluing the writer? According to Salim Saab, “consistency” was the secret to their success. The duo went on writing one hit after another and proved to the world that quality of content was the key to the success of their films. 

In my opinion, the only contemporary Indian film to have ever matched form to its content is the Masterpiece Sholay and there too, the content has been penned by Salim Saab and Javed Saab.

The hallmark of Salim Saab-Javed Saab’s writing is that all their films were not merely successful in terms of box-office earnings but were perceived to be socially relevant and that’s what earned them the respect of the film fraternity. Salim Saab always says, what’s a film if its content does not leave behind any emotional residue on its viewers?

And precisely because of the impact that their powerful writing had on the audience, the fearless warriors of the pen demanded their pound of flesh and made sure they were given the respect they were so worthy of.

Though Salim Saab is purely a devotee of knowledge and literature, it’s an undeniable fact that money is the measure of man’s achievement in this materialistic world. And the Duo’s unmatchable contribution to Indian cinema could be compensated with not only respect but the highest fee to be paid. What’s more, this deserved recognition ensured that writers and quality content began to be more appreciated within the industry. 

Salim Saab went a step further and even staked a claim in the profits of the films that they were part of and in a most rational manner proved his point when it was established without doubt that the films they wrote actually got picked up for a premium by buyers purely on the basis of one credit scroll:  Written by Salim-Javed.

The contribution of the Pen is actually priceless in spirit but in reality, we ought to doff our hats to Salim Saab who along with his partner has given priceless gems to the Indian film audience. Gems that can will forever retain their sparkle because of the Invaluable Value of the Pen.

 Jaideep Sen is a filmmaker and a connoisseur of the art of storytelling.

Links to earlier episodes in this series:



Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Princess and the Superstar - by Preethi Venugopala

I am very excited to announce that my author friend Preethi Venugopala has just released her latest romance novel, The Princess and The Superstar. Check out the details below... 


A Princess in love with a Bollywood Superstar

Saketh Rao aka SR, India's latest Bollywood heartthrob, has bagged the role of a lifetime: to play Hari Varman, the doomed royal scion. 

When he arrives at Sravanapura Palace with his director friend Rajeev Ratnam, little does he know that his life is about to change forever! 

Princess Kritika is overjoyed that Saketh Rao will play the role of her ancestor. But when she comes face to face with the arrogant superstar she is determined to scuttle the project.

Fate, however, has different plans for them. The feisty couple is soon head over heels in love with each other. 

As they uncover the secrets of Hari Varman's life, Saketh makes a discovery that can rip them apart and their new-found love. 

Will the secrets and lies of the past deny them a future together? Or will they overcome the obstacles to true love?


Excerpt 


Kritika checked the time. It was nearing seven thirty. She was a bit late than usual. But she still had plenty of time to pamper herself and get ready to meet the superstar, who seemed to have won hearts all over the world if she were to believe the fan videos posted on YouTube and various blogs. Yes, she had shamelessly checked the many YouTube videos about him to know more about him. It seemed perfectly normal to stalk his Twitter and Facebook page. He had come across as a friendly and warm person who retweeted his fans often and replied to interesting comments on his FB Page.
She knew half of his persona online was created by his PR team. His social media profiles might be maintained by dedicated teams who would present only the best aspects about him to the public. The real Saketh Rao might turn out to be a total jerk. Yet, she was looking forward to meeting the star in person and decide for herself.  

When she stepped on to the road that led to the residential wing of the palace, she was surprised to hear the horn of a car. She whirled around and watched as a silver Mercedes Benz came around a bend in the road and raced towards her.

Vijay had renovated a number of unused rooms in the palace and turned them into luxury hotel suites, thus creating one more gem in his hotel business chain. The only snag in the entire setup was that guests often sneaked into the palace’s residential areas, even though they were marked as no entry zones and had to be turned away by the palace guards. And it irked her very much. She wondered how this car had escaped the scrutiny of the guards. She needed to talk with the head of security. But for now, she would tackle this herself.

She gripped the straps of her backpack and stood in the middle of the road facing the car that seemed to have no intention of slowing down. It came to halt at a mere metre in front of her and she heard the driver swear. She narrowed her eyes and continued to stare at the car, daring the occupants to come out and face her. The passenger door of the car opened and a handsome youth, who looked as though he was jet-lagged and badly in need of a leisurely bath and sleep, got out. He seemed vaguely familiar, but she couldn't place him immediately.

"Please, miss. May I know why you are blocking our path?" he asked, his mellow tone bringing Kritika's anger a few notches down.

"This road leads to the residential areas of the palace and is not accessible for guests at the hotel. Kindly turn around and go away."

"But miss-"

"Enough, no need to explain.” Kritika raised her right hand to stop him from talking any further and snapped at him. The fact that he was trying to justify his action, brought her anger back.

"But we are-"

"As I said, I don't want to hear any further explanation. Instruct your driver to reverse the car and get the hell out of here."

The driver of the car opened his door and got out. Kritika’s jaw dropped and her mouth formed an O because she recognised the driver instantly. Saketh Rao, clean shaven, casually attired in a t-shirt and jeans, all six feet two inches of male glory. He removed his sunglasses and walked towards her, his lips curved into his characteristic lopsided smile. He was clearly enjoying her distress. And then the last piece of the puzzle fell into place when she recognised the handsome youth with him as Rajeev Ratnam. Kritika felt her heart racing. If Saketh came near her now, her excited heart would undergo a heart attack.

"Who are you to block our path? We have the adequate permission papers and we were let in by the guards. Move your heavy butt out of our way and allow us to pass."

His arrogant talk snapped Kritika out of the trance she was falling into. The arrogant snob.
And he had made a personal comment. About her butt! 

"Mr! Watch your language."

"Are you going to get in? Why are you listening to this annoying, attention seeking female?" Saketh was ignoring her outright and addressing his friend.

"How dare you?" Kritika took a step forward and slapped him. He stopped her hand in mid-air and in one swift move, yanked her towards him, momentarily taking the wind out of her lungs.

 When she attempted to step back, he tightened his grip on her arm and held her other arm with his right hand. His nearness was doing strange things to her composure. His touch was making her heart stutter, sending electric impulses rushing through her body.

If it was not for the revulsion he had evoked with his arrogance, she certainly would have enjoyed the sensation of being held by him. But now, she regretted the hours she had spent browsing the internet to know more about him. As she had feared, he had turned out to be an outright jerk. She didn't want to waste her energy arguing with him.

She pushed him with all her strength and then broke into a run, determined to never to cross his path again. She heard him chuckle and it enraged her further.

She wanted to see how they were going to make a film about her ancestor. She would see to it that it got an early grave.



Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Salaam Salim Saab - Silence that Speaks (Episode #2)

 Jaideep Sen continues his series dedicated to the writing of Salim Khan...
  
Writing Silence that speaks louder than words takes the skill of a genius. Let's take two such instances that can be found in Salim Saab's body of work -- Shakti for which he collaborated with his writing partner Javed Akhtar Saab and Naam, for which he was the independent writer

An interesting side-note here: Shakti and Haathi Mere Saathi were both adapted from Tamil films by Salim and Javed Saab. However, the adaptations were so strikingly different from the original films that they were re-made in Tamil again. 

Scene from Shakti: Silence that speaks louder than words
Coming back to the scene in Shakti, there is a point in the story where Sheetal (Raakhe Gulzar) is shot dead. Her son Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) is at loggerheads with his Father Ashwini Kumar (Dilip Kumar). She has been the lynchpin in their lives, a pillar of strength for both. When Vijay comes home, he finds his father sitting in a corner of the room. The scene was intentionally written as a Father-Son moment where they, without exchanging a single word, share the tremendous feeling of loss they are both experiencing. 

And such was the sensitivity of the two genius writers, Salim and Javed Saab, that on reaching this critical point in the screenplay, they themselves felt numb. They went on to convey this numbness through silence and tears, a potent combination that has a sledgehammer emotional impact on the viewer even today. 

That is the hallmark of Salim Saab's writing -- these emotional scenes still have exactly the same impact on you each and every time you watch them. This can happen only when you write from the heart and the emotional thrust is completely pure.  

Scene from Naam: the sledgehammer impact of silence
The second instance is the scene from Naam where Salim Saab hit gold again with silence. Ravi (Kumar Gaurav) enters the hospital room where Vicky (Sunjay Dutt) who's on the death bed after being shot by the police. As a regretful Vicky tries to say something to Ravi, blood trickles out of his mouth not allowing him to speak. How sensitively and sensibly Salim Saab has used 'blood' as a tool to set up Vicky's inability to speak and using his unstoppable tears to heighten the emotional peak of the scene. 

The heart-wrenching silence tears you apart and makes the viewer shed more tears than perhaps even the characters do. I personally feel that making the audience cry is the most challenging aspect of writing because it totally depends on emotions and unlike comedy does not have the support of physical action. 

Having had the opportunity to interact with Salim Saab, and felt his purity and nobility, which I feel is the origin from where these unadulterated emotional gems find their sparkle. Silent gems that speak louder than words. Where silence is not by default but by design. 

Jaideep Sen is a filmmaker and a connoisseur of the art of storytelling.

Read Episode 1 here: Mera Naam Salim Khan 

Read Episode 3 here: The Invaluable Value of the Pen