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 


Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Sizzling Summer Deal for #DestinysGirl


Temperatures are soaring across India. Mangoes and lychees, tall cool drinks and summer vacations are all part of our coping strategies, right?
So, here's an offer that's not to be missed. Relax indoors with your favourite cold beverage and your Kindle.
To sweeten the deal, here's a free copy of my ebook Destiny's Girl. Hope you enjoy the read. And please don't forget to leave a review if you do read it.
The limited time offer is only between 29th May and 31st May 2018. So don't delay!
Happy Reading!
Adite
xoxo

Monday, 28 May 2018

Cover Reveal of #Mauri by Saiswaroopa Iyer

Exciting news for lovers of stories set in Ancient India. Saiswaroopa Iyer, the author of Abhaya and Avishi, is releasing her new title Mauri soon. It's a privilege for me to host the amazing new cover. But before you feast your eyes on it, here's a bit about the Author and her books.

And don't forget to read the Excerpt below!

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Cover Reveal – Mauri, Book 2 of Abhaya Collection


Mauri, the second book of Abhaya collection by Saiswaroopa Iyer is set to release on 9th June 2018 on Amazon Kindle Store. Set in the times of Mahabharata, the books explore lesser known stories of the timeless epic of India from the perspectives of strong female protagonists. The opening Title, Abhaya, was released on Kindle store in November 2015 and has received praise from acclaimed authors and reviewers.


Abhaya allows us to delve into the world of our ancestors and Gods through the route of great storytelling and a brilliant narrative. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
-- Amish Tripathi





About Mauri

She wanted to kill the man who others called a God.
Love is but an obstacle in her path

With her father’s death shattering her world, Mauri is torn away from everything she had once loved. Anger replacing every emotion within her, she seeks only one thing. To kill her father’s killer. Even if the man is none less than Krishna Vaasudeva, the man who people worshipped as a God! Someone stands in the way, reining in her bitterness when she is the least prepared for it. The Rakshasa Prince Ghatotkacha! But by the time love sprouts within her, Mauri has gone too far in her thirst for vengeance.  

Can Mauri save herself and Ghatotkacha before the consequences of her own actions can destroy both their worlds?


Excerpt

The smile on Ghatotkacha’s face faded the moment he saw the figure that had appeared atop the wall. Unknown to him, his fists curled over his club and heart fought against the searing pain of the memory. The memory of betrayal. His intensified gaze and a placid forehead contrasted each other. No more of this. Not now!
Mauri saw him. Like he commanded a new surge of energy after their last meeting. Mauri had little in her defence. And she had other things on her mind before she could take an interest in defending herself. In fact, she had no wish to defend her past actions. Face it! But her predicament sorely needed external help and his demeanour did not leave much hope. Mauri steeled her heart and inhaled. She was going to need all her energies for this!
She forced a smile onto her lips and looked at him, trying to summon her old self. “So, we have visitors!” she thundered, glancing at his small band of Rakshasa followers. “But I regret to inform you that the temple is closed to pilgrims indefinitely.”
“Closed to pilgrims, open to monstrous rogues and their heartless little minions.” Ghatotkacha retorted. “Perhaps there needs to be a change.”
Her guilt notwithstanding, Mauri was not going to brook being called names, much less, being called a minion to a crafty coward like Alambusha. Still, his pain when he uttered the word ‘heartless’ did not go unnoticed by her. Her frown narrowed, fighting back any traces of regret. In vain though. “Change comes at a price, Rakshasa Prince, sorry, King. Though I must say the population under your command has dwindled too much for one to still consider you a king.” She could see his annoyance mounting. Something amused her about it. “So tell me what you can pay, Ghatotkacha!”
Ghatotkacha threw his head up and shrugged looking around. “I would have loved to play a game of word parlay. Except this is no stage and there is no audience to enjoy the exchange.” His eyes betrayed impatience. “I come to keep a promise. A promise of protection that was given to this sacred place under the rule of my uncle, Emperor Yudhishtira. My demand is clear, daughter of late commander Mura. Open the gates, surrender the rogue Rakshasa traitors to me. Open up this temple of the Supreme Goddess to those who deserve to see Her.”
“I asked for a price you could pay and you repeat the demand. By the Goddess, someone needs to grow up!” Mauri sneered back and leaned against a pole, feigning nonchalance. This was all going nowhere—her show of hostility, his mounting anger, Dhatri’s life in danger, and Alambusha preferring to hide inside the inner circle. She needed to break away. She struck upon a frantic plan, praying all Gods for its success. “There seems to be only one language you understand. Defeat me, and you can have a free pass inside.”

About the Author
Formerly an analyst with a Venture Capital firm, Saiswaroopa currently writes Puranic fiction with a focus on lesser known heroines of Ancient India. Mauri is her third work of fiction after Abhaya and Avishi. Her interests include Carnatic Music, Philosophy, History and Literature of India. She won a state level gold medal from TTD in rendering Annamacharya Kritis. She holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.