Author: Maharsh Shah
Price: Rs 210
Link to Purchase: Zoravar
Sikh. Pashtun. Thuggee. Fraud. Movie Star.
This is the story of Zoravar Cheema.
1945, Lahore, India. Zoravar Cheema, sixteen and in love with the magic of the big screen, dreams of becoming a movie star. By the time the turbulent events of 1947 roll out, he has made the most important decision of his life. He will leave his family and go to Bombay – even if it means moonlighting as a member of one of the most feared crime gangs in the country.
Zoravar begins his journey without a roadmap, spends his nights sleeping on the streets and struggles in the day as the junior-most apprentice to actors and directors, till a freak encounter makes his dream come true.
This is the captivating story of the rise and fall of a superstar, set against the heady, glittering world of Hindi cinema.
This is the story of a man who comes from the pits, but has his eyes set on ruling the roost in Bollywood. The term Bollywood is a recently coined term and this story starts very early in 1947 but I am using the term for convenience. Starting from very humble beginnings, the protagonist climbs a steep mountain full of obstacles, to reach the pinnacle of glory. The story is a saga which starts from the times when KL Saigal ruled the silver screens to the times of Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra. This is a vast time span of nearly three to four decades to cover in a book of 320 pages. Yet the author performs this difficult task adroitly without letting the reader get bored. I finished the book in 2 days. The author has intertwined real life characters and a fictional protagonist with copious amounts of skill, proving that he is a natural born writer. The protagonist, Zoravar, never allows any of the insurmountable difficulties that come his way to stop his journey to glory on the silver screen. During this journey, sometimes he even borrows money from the underworld to finance films. He even agrees to act as a decoy to kill a police inspector.
The desperation to succeed is so great that he becomes quite reckless at times. The author is able to transfuse the protagonist’s deep desire and zeal to succeed into the reader. He paints a crystal clear picture of the protagonist’s character. We are able to identify with Zoravar’s feelings very succinctly. Real life actors are part of the story. The protagonist Zoravar is competing with the likes of Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor. He even visits the erstwhile Soviet Union along with these worthies. There are a few sub-plots in the sidelines. The protagonist leaves his family for love of another woman. Altogether it is a great story written by a writer who is very talented. The book also gives us a very realistic picture of what it takes to succeed in Bollywood. Another thing I loved was the way each section of the book has a title which is the beginning of a popular Bollywood number. There is also a sequel titled ‘Bollywood Saga #2’ coming up in the near future. It is already on my ‘To Be Read’ list.
The only negative point I could find was that the editing is not perfect. The line indentation and a few other things like grammar are flawed at some places. But these are few and far between.
A very big Yay! You can definitely read this book. It is a page turner and gives us a very good insight into Bollywood.
I am going with a 4.5/5 for Maharsh Shah’s Zoravar. I have cut off half a point just for the editing which is hardly the author’s fault.
This review is written as part of Blogchatter’s Book Review Program