Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Review- HiFi in Bollywood by Rishi Vohra

HiFi in Bollywood by Rishi Vohra
Source- Goodreads

Rayhan Arora’s long cherished dream is to be a filmmaker in the Hindi Film Industry but his formidable father has other plans… a successful financial career in Corporate America, and a marriage of convenience with Vanita, a medical student in the US. 

In a final act of desperation, Rayhan abandons his promising life in California and secretly returns to Mumbai to work as an Assistant Director in Bollywood. The characters he encounters along the way become part of his journey of self-discovery - a self-proclaimed local goon with a penchant for acting; a powerful local politician who wants to marry Rayhan's part-time domestic help, who in turn covets stardom; an angst-ridden, homosexual film director; ego-ridden film stars with twisted agendas; and the mysterious Viola who captures his heart.

HiFi in Bollywood takes the reader from the streets of Berkeley to the film studios of Mumbai; from red-light areas to police stations, and from reality to dreams and back to reality again!


All though the Hindi Film Industry is one of largest entertainment businesses churning out colorful, musical films every year, not many books are written about this profession where thousands of young men and women land on its doorstep everyday with starry dreams. Bollywood or HiFi is itself an inspiration to write millions of stories of the people working here. I have loved reading books that are based on the lives of people who are part of this multi-billion industry of cinema. It was with much enthusiasm that I picked up Rishi Vohra’s book and even though I haven’t read his first novel, I know it created lot of good buzz in the literary world.

The story is about a Mumbai boy, Rayhan, who sacrifices his dream to become a filmmaker because of his authoritarian father. After receiving a degree in Finance from a university in Berkeley, Rayhan tries to unsuccessfully land a job and due to recession his career prospects in US looks bleak. When he is forced to accept a marriage proposal from an Indian girl, who he thinks wouldn’t make a correct life partner for him, Rayhan knows that it’s time to take control of his life and follow his dream. The remaining of the story is about his endeavors in HiFi and the characters that he meets on his journey as an assistant film director.

Although the plot is mediocre and gets predictable towards the end, the host of interesting characters that Rayhan encounters keeps the story entertaining. The fact that the author tried to shed light on the lives of people who work behind the camera while filming a blockbuster movie is commendable. I liked the character of SuperSpot, the highly efficient and lightening fast spot boy. The story is fast paced and is filled with antics of the people in Rayhan’s life and how it has an impact on his life.

Overall an interesting weekend read!

Rating- 3.5

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