A Germ of an Idea
A Novel in Two Books
by N. K. Johel
Okay, what is it all about? You know, this book of mine. Yeah, what made me write a Bollywood Murder Mystery? Well, it happened like this:A friend of mine was really into Bollywood movies. He, himself, was not Indian, but he enjoyed them immensely. There is nothing wrong with this, although was a curiosity about ten or so years ago. It's more common that people from other cultures, now appreciate Bollywood movies these days. It'd been a very long time since I'd seen one myself. I recalled the music and dancing. The story lines and favorite heroes and heroines. The stock characters. The love stories, the comedy, the drama and tragedy. It was intoxicating.Pure entertainment.
I used to watch a lot of Bollywood movies in the 80's and enjoyed the classics, such as Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor movies. Amitab Buchan was just hitting an apex in his career. I loved Zeenat Aman, Helen, Rekha...to name just a few. It was amazing. Mehr Mittal was an acquired taste, but he became my favorite Punjabi comedian. Oh, and let's not forget Rishi Kapoor and Ranjeet Kaur in "Laila Majnu," an epic romance tragedy that can make me mist up just watching the song excerpts on YouTube.But then, my life changed - for the better - and I no longer had time to watch movies. I was actively perusing my dreams to be a creative artist. There was a smorgasbord of possibilities before me, and I explored. Theater, music, art, video...About three years after getting on my path, I watched a few movies along the way and was appalled at how predictable they'd become. There was a glut of movies that failed to move me. They seemed to have lost their luster. But before I could watch much more, I was back to my life, writing, painting, looking for a way of expression.
In 2006, when I visited that friend after not seeing him for a couple of years, I found he'd became 'an Indo-phile.' I didn't mind, after all, I am diverse in my likes and dislikes as well. He took lessons on how to speak Hind,i but his pronunciation was giving me trouble, never mind the fact that I spoke
Punjabi, and only a little Hindi. I was getting a little annoyed. But when he said that, based on Bollywood movies, my culture was beautiful and I should appreciate it more, I had to protest. Bollywood was no more my culture as Hollywood was his. Alas,he continued to tease me. He said that I should buy a house with a big back yard with an oak tree with a swing hanging from it so my husband could push me and sing me songs. On and on. Then, suddenly, in a Noel Coward-like moment, he froze, looking at me in complete awe, and declared himself a "Desi," An Indian. A countryman.Yeah. I...didn't just know what to say. On the way home, my husband reminded me that I needed an story to write for NaNoWriMo. November 1st was only three weeks away. Still stunned from my friend's melodramatic fascination with all things Bollywood, we thought it would be fun to do a murder mystery. On the long ride back home, we came up with a main character's name, Elanna Forsyth George, and a germ of an idea for the plot line. It would have to do since I had so little time.Writing Bollywood Storm would open my eyes to what a lot of the seedy things that often happens behind the scenes of the entrainment industry, but it also returned to me some respect, for the genre when I looked up my old favorites and spent time re familiarizing myself with the tropes incorporated in a Bollywood movie. The five requisite song and dance numbers. The hero and heroine and their nemesis bad girl and badmashes whom we love to hate.Yeah, and I sunk my teeth right into it all...and, in 'killing' the character of movie director Rajesh Sharma, I was able to symbolically bury a lot of those bad Bollywood knock-offs that left a bad taste in my mouth. I learned a lot about Rajesh as I journeyed through this book. He was not a bad person. His judgement wasn't always good, but he kinda grows on you. And he pulled off an excellent Noel Coward when he came across the perfect foil for Elanna.Til next time....