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A paradoxical world

Kanika Dhillon shows the good, bad and the ugly side of Bollywood

PHOTO: NAGARA GOPAL

FIRST TIME Kanika Dhillon

Neki Brar is sitting on the edge of her Mumbai apartment terrace contemplating jumping to death. As she leafs through the pages of her diary, memories of her days as an assistant director to a big shot Bollywood director comes back to her. Giving up her cushy MNC job, small town girl Neki had moved to Mumbai to realise her Bollywood dreams. However, things fails to go according to plan and she finds herself drunk and on the terrace questioning her move. The book “Bombay Duck is a Fish” narrates the story of Neki Brar.

The author Kanika Dhillon, talking about her debut novel says, “Neki and me are both from Amritsar and we both left our comfortable corporate jobs to pursue a career in the Hindi film industry. But the similarity ends there.” The author, who is a student of the London School of Economics, gave up her job in London and joined Shah Rukh Khan's production house Red Chillies to pursue her dreams in filmmaking.

“I did not have any Bollywood connection and it was difficult to find a footing in the industry. But I was pleasantly surprised when Red Chillies hired a newcomer like me,” says Kanika. She adds that Shah Rukh Khan's production house encourages young talents even though the industry is still dominated by old school thoughts.

It was the paradoxical nature of Bollywood and her own experience in the industry inspired her to write the novel. “The book is a satire on the film industry as well as the city of Mumbai. Although I am a cynic, I have tried to portray the ambiguity and struggles with humour. Deep poignant pathos can be described better with dark humour,” insists Kanika, an admirer of writers like Thomas Hardy and Oscar Wilde.

Even though the books has characters like the dark and handsome Ranvir Khanna who makes Neki's heart flutter, the author flatly states that her book is not another chick-lit. “Just because the story is about a girl and written by a girl doesn't make it a chick-lit. The book offers a slice of urban reality.”

Kanika is also the co-writer of the much awaited superhero movie “Ra.One”. “It was a fantastic experience and I learnt a lot during the script writing. The movie will take filmmaking to the next level,” she promises.

Taking time out from her shooting schedules, she states that writing about Bollywood was therapeutic. “It is a difficult world to survive in. With this book I created a world of my own and played with it and had control over it.”

SOHINI CHAKRAVARTY

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