Show Business: A Novel

Overview


A triumphant novel about the razzle-dazzle Hindi film industry.

A triumphant new novel about the movie industry by the author of The Great Indian Novel. Tharoor's hero is Ashok Banjara, one of India's mega movie stars, a man of great ambition and dubious morals. Tharoor portrays the Indian film world as a metaphor for Indian society and weaves a tapestry of seduction and betrayal that is colorful--and serious.

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Overview


A triumphant novel about the razzle-dazzle Hindi film industry.

A triumphant new novel about the movie industry by the author of The Great Indian Novel. Tharoor's hero is Ashok Banjara, one of India's mega movie stars, a man of great ambition and dubious morals. Tharoor portrays the Indian film world as a metaphor for Indian society and weaves a tapestry of seduction and betrayal that is colorful--and serious.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The casting couch, big egos, glitz and various forms of exploitation are just as much a part of India's film industry as of Hollywood, to judge from this entertaining, occasionally uneven satirical novel. Sept.
Library Journal
After his highly regarded debut with The Great Indian Novel ( LJ 3/1/90), London-born, New York-resident Tharoor takes on the Bombay film industry, or ``Bellywood,'' in this tale of a minor government official's son who rises from bit parts to Indian superstardom, then moves on to meet his downfall in the similar if more dangerous game of politics. Ashok's amoral adventures will sound familiar to readers of Hollywood novels--apparently the movie biz is juicily venal no matter what its country of origin--but idiosyncratic cultural differences add a few twists to the parade of cliches. (There's a glossary to help with the unfamiliar vocabulary.) The novel's structure, juxtaposing scripts and character monologs, remains interesting throughout, although much of the writing seems surprisingly precious, especially the humor. The tragic climax works well, even though Tharoor fails to make his self-serving protagonist anything like a sympathetic hero--which may well be his pessimistic point. For popular fiction collections.--David Bartholomew, NYPL
Kirkus Reviews
Hindi movies are the metaphor for all that ails the subcontinent in this satirical tale from Tharoor (The Great Indian Novel, 1991), all about life in India's own Tinseltown—"Bollywood," Bombay. Cutting and splicing monologues, lengthy synopses of movies, and excerpts from "Bollywood's" sharp-clawed Show Biz columnist, the Cheetah, Tharoor relates the rise, fall, and apotheosis of handsome Ashok Banjara—eldest son of a prominent politician, a connection that helps him get his first role. Ashok's rise to megastardom in the Hindi movie industry—which churns out films with simplistic plots and plaintive theme songs to please the rural masses—is swift. The quintessential movie star, Ashok lives as if life were a movie starring him, along with a supporting cast of beautiful women and servile men. He marries a costar but cheats on her; becomes a Member of Parliament—just another starring role, he assumes—but is framed in a tax-evasion scheme and must resign; in disgrace, he accepts the lead in a low-budget movie, then in a terrible accident on the set is mortally injured. Apotheosis is assured as throngs of loyal fans keep vigil outside while he lies dying. As entertaining and diverting as this sashay through glitzy "Bollywood" is, characters like Ashok's father and brother, and a fellow actor who always played the villain, offer more serious commentary. For them, the politicians and films are the same: "We are both involved in pretense, [and] politics is an end in itself, just like the Hindi film," the father says to his dying son. Corruption and illusion are rife; politicians behave like movie villains; and shallow movie stars are heroes of the people.Nothing is real. Tharoor is one of those rare writers who felicitously combines gentle satire with an urgent concern for society's ills. Another eloquent—and entertaining—commentary on contemporary India.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611454079
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/18/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Shashi Tharoor was born in London and brought up in Bombay and Calcutta. He has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, the Times of India, and Foreign Affairs. A human rights activist and winner of a Commonwealth Writers Prize, he is currently a member of the Indian Parliament and lives in New Dehli, India.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2005

    interesting but out dated view of bollywood

    I got bored 1/2 way through this book, and the only thing that kept me going was that it was obviously based on/inspired by/resembled the life of Amitabh Bhacchan. (Not giving anything away...its quite obvious). Amitabh is one of my heroes, so I couldnt help thinking 'i wonder if that bit is true!'''. I think sometimes Shashi Tharoor thinks he far more witty than he actually is, and I think many of these so called witty observations about Bollywood movies could made my any Indian 10 year old. I also thought entire chapters dedicated to a movie script/plot were quite boring and unnecessary. And finally his (condescending) view is of bollywood in the 60s and 70s, and is a little outdated now.

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