Bollywood Confidential

( 5 )


After seven years of slogging through film roles too embarrassing to mention, twenty-eight-year-old struggling L.A. actress Raveena Rai has finally been offered a lead! A potentially career-making turn in a major Hollywood epic, perhaps? A meaty part in a serious drama with Oscar® written all over it? Not! To Raveena's great dismay (and her mother's delight) she's flying off to India to star in a new Bollywood extravaganza.

Oh well, a lead is a lead, after all. Never mind that ...

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Bollywood Confidential

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After seven years of slogging through film roles too embarrassing to mention, twenty-eight-year-old struggling L.A. actress Raveena Rai has finally been offered a lead! A potentially career-making turn in a major Hollywood epic, perhaps? A meaty part in a serious drama with Oscar® written all over it? Not! To Raveena's great dismay (and her mother's delight) she's flying off to India to star in a new Bollywood extravaganza.

Oh well, a lead is a lead, after all. Never mind that it's a million humid degrees in Bombay, the Los Angeles of the East; that she has to live with a wacko distant uncle who sleeps under furniture and is the most stressed-out wannabe swami on the continent; that her director is a lecherous hack and his movie has the potential of being the very worst flick ever made anywhere! At least Raveena's leading man is the supremely sexy Siddharth, Bollywood's biggest star. But while their on-screen chemistry is electric-hot, off-screen the arrogant hunk treats her with total disdain ... or, worse still, ignores her. Raveena's one consolation is that things couldn't possibly get any worse.

Oh yeah? Want to bet? Lights, camera, action!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Singh takes a lighthearted look at "masala moviemaking" in this snappy overseas romp (after Goddess for Hire) starring aspiring actress Raveena Rai. Raveena isn't having much luck in Hollywood as an Indian beauty, so when her agent nabs her a starring role in a Bollywood film, she jumps at the chance and relocates to Bombay. Singh paints the scene with broad strokes: the bad guys are short and greasy, the gay best friend is predictably campy and supportive and Raveena proves unfailingly plucky. We get a few quick sketches of the teeming Indian streets and meet a host of comic Indian characters, including Raveena's eccentric Uncle Heeru (a failed actor who lives in a house overrun by pigeons), a lecherous Bollywood director and the extraordinarily handsome romantic interest, Bollywood mega-star, Siddharth. In her depiction of the haphazard making of a nonsensical movie, Singh offers a mild critique of Bollywood product (as too lowbrow and derivative), while also celebrating her heroine-and the Indian film industry's verve. Agent, Kimberly Whalen. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060590383
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Sonia Singh lives in Orange County, California, with her cat Kali Mata. When not writing books, she dances in front of the mirror in imitation of a belly-baring Bollywood babe.

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Read an Excerpt

Bollywood Confidential

By Sonia Singh

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Sonia Singh
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060590386

Chapter One

Six months earlier ...

Raveena was seriously getting tired of her agent.

He ushered her into his Wilshire Boulevard office and into a black art deco chair shaped like a swan, which was definitely designed without the input of any self-respecting chiropractor. Sure enough, the moment she sat down she felt her back begin to spasm.

Griffin smiled. "I'm so sorry I haven't returned your calls. In between snorkeling in the Caribbean and yachting in the Mediterranean, I haven't had a moment to sit down."

Raveena had spent the holidays pouring half a bottle of brandy into her eggnog.

She felt a wave of depression wash over her.

Raveena wasn't normally a depressed person. She always tried to see the bright side of things. Sometimes it took a day or even a decade to see the silver lining, but at least she kept on trying.

Therapy helped.

Denial helped more.

Because it seemed the "LA" thing to do, Raveena had made an appointment with a well-known psychiatrist in Malibu. Unfortunately, the good doctor hadn't appreciated it when halfway through their session Raveena tentatively raised her hand and said, "Instead of talking, could we get to the prescribing?"

Basically, as if the month of January weren't gloomy enough, her acting career -- to put it politely -- was in the proverbial shit hole.

Griffin smiled again, and this time the effect nearly blinded her. Raveena knew she had good teeth -- everyone in the Rai family did -- but next to Griffin her pearly whites looked positively saffron.

Across from her, Griffin leaned back in his black leather chair, ran his fingers through his perfectly tousled red hair, and proceeded to wax eloquent about the fabulous role she simply had to try out for. "It's a career-making role, Raveena," he said.

It was always a career-making role.

As if she expected him to present her with a career-obliterating offer.

Griffin Bish had been Raveena's agent for seven years, ever since she'd moved to Los Angeles at the tender age of twenty-one. Some people may not have considered the move a big deal since she'd grown up just forty-five minutes away in Newport Beach. After all, it wasn't like she was some fresh-faced farm girl from Iowa hopping the bus in Des Moines, coming to LAwi th her dreams in her jeans pocket.

Or was it?

Orange County and Los Angeles may be neighbors, but they're worlds apart. On the surface, the two locations seem similar, like a glass of water and a glass of vodka, but then you take a sip . . .

Speaking of vodka, she thought longingly of the Stoli stashed in her freezer.

"Raveena, the role is to die for," Griffin insisted.

Her left butt cheek had grown numb and she shifted.

"You'll play one of two slave girls assigned to the emperor," he added. They want someone ethnic-looking. It's not a speaking part -- "

She sighed. "Naturally."

"But you'll be able to do a lot of emoting with your eyes."


Seven years in Hollywood and she'd played a gypsy girl, a belly dancer, a Mexican cocktail waitress ...

And those were the roles worth mentioning.

To be fair, it wasn't really Griffin's fault. Despite the success of films like Monsoon Wedding and Bend It Like Beckham in the west, Hollywood wasn't exactly teeming with roles for women of Indian origin.

Make that East Indian origin.

Thanks to geographically challenged Columbus, Raveena had once been sent on a casting call where the producers were looking for an Indian woman. Upon arriving, she'd discovered that by Indian they meant Pocahontas, not Parvati.

Anyway, in Raveena's expert opinion, her golden coloring should afford her a variety of roles. After all, she'd been mistaken for women of Hispanic, Arabic and Southern Italian origin. The problem was the number of available Hispanic, Arabic, Southern Italian and East Indian roles combined could fit in the tear duct of her right eye.

Besides, there were enough Hispanic and Italian actresses out there to fill their respective parts. Raveena knew the likelihood of a casting agent selecting her, when Salma Hayek and Jennifer Lopez were ready and willing, was about as likely as a foreign-born action star becoming governor of California.

Oh wait ...

Taking a deep breath, Raveena forcibly gulped down her pride. "When's the audition?"

Griffin flashed another blinding smile.

This was Hollywood, remember?


Excerpted from Bollywood Confidential by Sonia Singh Copyright © 2005 by Sonia Singh. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2005

    How to travel to India without really going there.

    Bollywood Confidential was a fast, fun summer read. I am not Indian, but I've traveled to Mumbai (formerly Bombay), flew Air India, and watched Bollywood films all the way over and all the way back and I believe this book captures the essence. (Has anyone seen Bride and Prejudice?--one of the NEW Bollywood films...need I say more?) Anyway, it was great fun.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2006

    Poor writing style

    i'm not sure why so many people likes this authors books. She has a poor and underdeveloped writing style. Bollywood Confidential wasn't horrible, there were some funny parts of the story, but considering I've read better stuff doing peer reviews in my highschool english class, this book was NOT worth the 12.50 i paid for it. The authors style and plot could have been better developed, its too bad her editor didnt point this out.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    absorbing look at the dynamic Indian film industry

    Wannabe actress Raveena Rai has failed to make it in Hollywood so when her agent informs her that he has a starring role in a Bollywood movie, she immediately accepts the job. Without waiting for anyone to change their mind, Raveena quickly heads to Bombay where she assumes fame and fortune await her. --- However, upon reaching her destination in India Raveena finds nothing is remotely like that described by her agent she now considers slime. Her hotel is a dump, but she cannot move in with her Uncle Heeru as his home is overrun by wild pigeons. Even worse, her script is not written and she must dance more than act. To make her stay more miserable her director uses a hands on method touching her everywhere while trying to get her on the casting couch; all this without a script. On the positive side of this disaster is her leading man, mega hunk Siddharth, who Raveena believes is her destiny though she has a few rivals who consider the most popular Bollywood actor of the moment as fair game. --- Using stereotypes as support cast, Sonia Singh lampoons the Bollywood movie industry for making inane films that are so undemanding and unoriginal yet at the same time Raveena toasts the industry for its vigor and energy. The story line is well written as the audience wonders whether Raveena will get the leading man and finish the movie while eluding the fast hands of the lecherous director. Contemporary readers will welcome this fine absorbing look at the dynamic Indian film industry. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2005

    bollywood exaggerated

    I'm Indian and am a HUGE fan of Bollywood so when I saw this book I had to buy it. The plot on the back cover sounded very interesting and I did like the author's writing style and sense of humor. She also did have some knowledge about films and actors. However, the story was half baked and never fully developed. The ending was also very rushed and incomplete. I felt that Bollywood was shown in a very unfavorable and unrealistic light. Everything was very exaggerated...especially, Indian movies nowadays are MUCH MUCH better in terms of story, continuity, and common sense. Older films were stranger and made much less sense. Indian films are awesome!!!! This was a veryyyy fast, strictly OK read. Not worth $13! ( I hate when books are not normal mass paperback size! They charge twice as much when there's not even much reading material inside. STUPID!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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