Title : Kitnay Aadmi Thay
Author : Diptakirti Chaudhuri
Publisher : Westland
Price : 275/-
I suffer from my fair share of Bollywooditis. That makes me just one of the billions of Bollywood fans in this world
B-U-T. I’m also from that teeny tiny minority that likes to watch films not for the action in the foreground but for the setting, the background, the outfits, the floor!!! I check out the photo frames hanging on the walls or the type of upholstery in a drawing room. I like to know what curtains are being used or whether they compliment the female leads’ outfit in that particular screen.
In all my years, only a few handful people have shared my hobby, like my friend CG. I know that after she watches a movie, I can safely ask her the colour of the tile in the hero’s bathroom and she would know!!! (We are far too observant for our own good ). I have a couple of friends who are a treasure-chest of Bollywood trivia, ones who can narrate the dialogues from scenes by heart! Sadly, I’m not at that level yet
Anyhow, so when I saw this book up for review on Blogadda, I simply HAD to grab it! I mean, the cover has Gabbar, Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh on it!! Not to mention, gloriously bouffanted Sharmila Tagore (wielding a gun, no less) and the self deprecatingly smirking Aamir (that too, one from his always-wear-a-jacket phase! By the way, did you know that in those days, wearing a jacket was the quickest way for a hero to potray a bulkier form? Thin, lanky heroes used jackets by the dozens. Anil Kapoor (in action films), SRK and Aamir were barely separable from their’s. Salman had his phase, before he decided to start building a real body. After that, forget jackets, even shirts couldn’t linger on his frame for long !). Forgive me that slight diversion. It’s the effect of this book
The best part about Kitnay aadmi Thay is that it isn’t really a collection of ‘trivia’.
It is a collection of some of the best filmi memories, his (I have my own collection, but his collection is pretty close to mine, so no complaints ). There is no index to the book, because the best way to read it is to dive right in. Open at any page and you’ll be sure to get absorbed .The book contains sections on possibly all cliché characters (Maa, Baap, Dost, Teacher, Killer, etc..). Heck, it contains a sections for the Bollywood clichés by itself!
If some sections bring a smile to your face while memories from some deep recesses struggle to rush out, there are others which will have you chortling out loud. Sample this :-
Smile : “Aamir Khan played football without touching the ball in one hilarious sequence in Andaz Apna Apna, where he described his sporting exploits to demonstrate the return of his truant memory. As a star forward for Mohan Bagan, he claimed to have scored six goals in a match and he recreated the magic in a jiffy by rearranging mocktail glasses on a coffee table.”
Easily, this is one memory which definitely brings a smile on our face, not just because we remember the wild hilarity of that particular sequence, but also, because we know what comes next
Laugh : “…..Rani Mukherjee recited verses from Jibanananda Das – a famous Bengali poet- in her Juhu-acented Bengali and broke many hearts by dying soon afterwards.
Note : Contrary to popular belief (emanating from promos-seen by considerably more people than the film itself), Rani Mukherjee was raped and killed in the post-Partition riots and did not die from Kamal biting her on the bum.”
Diptakirti barely leaves any Bollywood-defining stereotypes alone! There are sections for the portrayal of Parsis, Punjabis, the South Indians and the Bengalis in Bollywood movies. There is another section for regional actors who made in big in Bollywood, and those that didn’t. Which brings us to the lists of actors who came up on their own, without filmi-backgrounds, there are star kids who made it big and those that didn’t. You can read about the influence of a myriad of fields on Bollywood. Cricket? Check.Other Sports? Check. Doctors? Check. Trains? Check.Authors? Check.Diseases? Check. locations? Check.Religions? Check.
The book, in my opinion, should be relished while seated on a comfy sofa, near the window, with a cup of hot tea and the rains outside. Thats the only way to enjoy stuff that is so much a part of our childhood.
The best part??
The list of Amul dedications. There are many more out there, but the ones in the book are heart-warming too.
So do grab a copy and read it. I’m sure that once you’ve turned over the last page, you would immediately want a sequel (I know I did )