21 September, 2020

Rags, Riches, Retro Pulp

A story in search of a director, a novel crying out to become a film.

Rags, Riches, Retro Pulp

The venerable Bhaichand Patel’s first novel displays both grand romanticism and sorrowful fatalism. Here is the essential Indian tale of a small-town boy who makes good in Bollywood, climbing to vertiginous heights in the music industry, only to have the past catch up with him in vengeful retribution.

In the course of his hero Ravi’s encounters with the good, the bad and the ugly, Patel graphs the crosshairs of Indian society. The Bollywood dream machine is fuelled by sex, money and power, and the minuet of seduction and betrayal is played out at every step of the plot. The style has the texture and metaphor of a cinema hoarding, in that it is direct and vigorous and carries the subtexts of other scripts and stories, of the Katha Sarit Sagar of Indian cinematic narrative. The novel is also an evocative portrayal of the backend of the music industry, a subject the author knows and understands.

In a village in Himachal, by the banks of a fast-flowing river, the ill-starred hero, Ravi, is abandoned as a child by his beautiful mother, Radha. His...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

In this article:

More from Namita Gokhale

Latest Magazine

September 28, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section