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Faction: Real vs Reel, Fact vs Fiction?

Madhumita Chakraborty

Edited by Khalid Mohamed
OM Books International, Noida, 2013, pp. 293, Rs. 395.00


Growing up in India in the 1990’s, some films stood out from others simply because of their different storyline—removed from the ‘mast, mast, ‘dhak, dhak, ‘choli ke peeche’, ‘sexy sexy’, ‘sarkailo khatiya’, ‘gutur, gutur’ kind of songs and their corresponding stories that dominated during the period. Films like Tehzeeb, Silsilay and Fiza made by Khaled Mohamed, along with a Zakhm or even Fire—stood out, even if they did not attract a lot of commercial attraction. So when Khaled Mohamed presents a book of short stories written by some of the best known names today of Bollywood, contrasting actors and directors of Hindi cinema, one cannot but hope that the stories—mostly ghost-written of course, will hold up to the same standards seen in his films.   Khaled Mohamed is a Bollywood director, scriptwriter and journalist, a former editor of HT Café. Having been so intimately involved with Bollywood, it is therefore natural for him to have close contacts with the biggest names in the industry, and also perhaps be privy to many of their secrets and stories, many of which do not make it to the broadsheets, tabloids, or even now, the twitter world, where nothing it seems remains secret anymore!   The book begins with a back-story, crucial to put things in perspective for the readers. And the perspective, as Mohamed puts it is: ‘Never let the truth come in the way of a good story.’ The stories have either been written by the personas themselves, or have been narrated to Mohamed who has in turn penned and coloured them in his own words. Later, Om Puri explains this further: ‘To organise the stories and narrate them coherently, separately or all together in a book as a novel, is a writer’s skill and talent. Even if one were to fictionalise the stories—add fantasy, subtract reality—they are a reflection of one’s personality. Those who erase the past are fortunate… at the same time, they lose an important part of themselves by going into denial mode.’ Khaled Mohamed has a tough job—‘rewrite’ the stories narrated to him, without losing the actors’ voices, and in that he has been successful.   Khaled Mohamed has ensured that people will at least pick up and leaf through the book, given the fact that from Akshay Kumar to Karan Johar, from Ashok Kumar to Shyam Benegal, and from Sonam Kapoor and ...

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