Book Review – Masala Madness and Manmohan Desai

Book Review - Masala Madness and Manmohan Desai

I was thrilled on checking out this book titled 'Masala, Madness and Manmohan Desai' on the stands. After all, for someone who has been a staunch follower of the filmmaker's brand of cinema, a book on his work was a gift no less. The subject chosen was just right too – Amar Akbar Anthony. It seemed that author Sidharth Bhatia (who had earlier come up with a brilliant 'Cinema Modern: The Navketan Story') had decided to put on his own fan hat and decided to bring on a book that encapsulated everything that the filmmaker stood for.

Alas, what one got eventually got to read was a semi-spicy affair that promised a lot but turned out to be just an average dish in the end. What could have been a blow by blow account of what went into the making of Amar Akbar Anthony and the psychology behind the great filmmaker proved to be a half baked affair.

Sad, because this was one opportunity that could have been nurtured to the maximum limit.

For starters, the filmmaker comes across as a total one dimensional personality. Perhaps this is how he was in real life too; the kind who only thought of entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. However, it is tough to believe that there wasn't a personal life of his which dictated his love towards commercial cinema and also had a major influencing factor. Hence, what one reads is hardly different from the kind of folklore that has anyways been making rounds for decades already.

This means one gets to read once more about how his decisions on the sets were final and how he didn't allow or appreciate interference or suggestions of any kind. Moreover, he was one of the first filmmakers who came up with the theory of 'leave your brains at home' and that was demonstrated to the fullest in Amar Akbar Anthony that kept logic aside.

Well, all of that does make for a nostalgic read all over again but how one wishes that there were many more details made available to a reader as well.

It is understandable that Bhatia too was challenged by the fact that the director was no more, which means even had to do primarily do with hearsay. In fact not many associated with the film's cast were available for a tête-à-tête either. He does manage to extract a few quotes from certain celebrities but by and large, what one gets to read in the book is his own take on the man and his film. At places he touches upon some of the other work of Manmohan Desai as well but that doesn't quite turn out to be satiating enough.

The hunt for a true-blue entertaining book which matches the entertainment quotient of the kind of films that Manmohan Desai made still awaits readers.

Price: Rs. 250

Rating: **1/2

Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama. Read more

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