Welcome to Bollywood. This is studio city, a fantasy-fodder factory, the Bombay-based film capital of the Indian subcontinent. Here every year the Hindi film industry pumps out twice as many pictures as Hollywood to satisfy the romantic cravings of its billion-strong audience, from the mobile-wielding classes who sit in the air-conditioned comfort of big-city cinemas, to the villagers transfixed by dancing images flickering on a dusty courtyard wall. Enter Hrithik Roshan, new idol of the silver screen, seducing both the industry and the women of India in a flurry of triceps and biceps, tight T-shirts and slick dance moves. "Bollywood Boy" follows Hrithik's meteoric rise through the celluloid firmament. It could be straight from one of the film industry'sown big-budget schlockbusters, with its heroes, heroines, villains, exotic locations, a cast of thousands, myriad constume changes and highly charged dop-de-bop dance routines. And like any good cinerama drama, there is the big chase scene as Justine tries to track down the man behind the hype, the hysteria and the silver disco suits.
But there is a dark side to all of this, the moment when the lights go out and the hero stumbles - the moment in Bollywood when people die because they have not played by the underworld code. For beneath the glittering surface of India's tinsel town lurk shady racketeers who use the film industry to make serious black money. In Bombay, the underworld is king. Welcome to Bollywood.
Table of Contents
Infatuation; flirtation (meet our hero); turmoil (bring on the baddies); adulation (meet a heroine); rivalry (bring on the girls); jealousy (boy loses girl); passion (cue big dance number); romance (boy gets girl); betrayal (boy gets another girl (apparently); seduction (sub-plot); happy ever after? (the end).
Justine Hardy has been based in and out of India for the last twelve years as a journalist, writer and documentary maker. Her first book, "The Ochre Border: A Journy through the Tibetan Frontierlands," was published in 1995. "Scoop-wallah: Life on a Delhi Daily," published in 1999, was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Award. "Goat: A Story of Kashmir and Notting Hill" came out in 2000.