Book review – Freeze Frame

Book review - Freeze Frame

A few weeks back Bhawnaa Somaaya's 'Talking Cinema' had arrived on the stands. The book was primarily a compilation of conversations that the veteran journalist had with several B-town celebrities. Unfortunately though, the expectations of something really engaging and spicy weren't met and the book had turned out to be a disappointment. Hence, when one gets hold of Anupama Chopra's 'Freeze Frame', there are apprehensions that set in. Since this 350 odd page too is a compilation of interviews conducted by Anupama, one wonders whether one would indeed have something to munch on.

As it turns out, the 'Freeze Frame' indeed succeeds on freezing you as you go through various frames (read, pages). It is a good compilation of interviews with some being truly detailed and lengthy while others being short and snappy. In their own space, the write ups – well, most of them – make for an interesting read as Anupama engages her interviewees with certain questions that are off the routine. Moreover, there is a personal equation element that comes in as well where it is quite apparent that Anupama takes good advantage of her relationship with the celebrities, hence allowing them to break free.

Of course this isn't one of those 'Koffee With Karan' shows where the proceedings turn scandalous or 'Rendezvous with Simi Garewal' outings where tears are shed. Instead, it is more about Bollywood and its business where one can sense a true lover of Bollywood cinema looking at extracting more about what happens beneath from the movers and shakers of the industry.

No wonder, the usual suspects are all there, right from Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan to Karan Johar. As is expected out of a conversation with Shahrukh Khan, it is all heart-felt with the actor being uninhibited, yet controlled in his conversations. Even as a viewer you are engaged and attentive as the likes of Shahrukh and Amitabh Bachchan speak which means as an interviewer and an author, Anupama does her job well.

Even as she goes ahead and puts together 35 odd interviews, there is an unconventional beginning no less with Govinda as her first Bollywood interviewee in the book. While this doesn't quite turn out to be the best of the lot, one likes the honesty factor that comes in with the actor conversing uninhibitedly in Hindi. The interview that does turn out to be one of the best being offered is that of Farah Khan. The lady, despite being asked difficult questions, emerges unscathed and calls a spade a spade, something which is expected from her.

Meanwhile, when Salman Khan comes on the scene, you know that there won't be anything pretentious in the offering, something that turns out to be the case as well. Yes, there is an overdose of Sanjay Leela Bhansali though which takes up quite a lot of print space. With many interviews with other celebrities being quite snappy, you do wish that some of the other write ups are precise as well.

Nevertheless, what one likes is the fact that other than expected interviewees like Kajol and Madhuri Dixit, there are also men like Anil Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, Abhay Deol and Naseeruddin Shah who join the scene. Since none of these have even aspired to be politically correct in their conversations, it is fun to read what they have to say about matters related to Bollywood.

This is the reason why when Anupama brings in some international celebrities, it comes across as an interruption. Of course the names are all big and if being read in a newspaper during a Sunday brunch, they engage as well. However, in a book which is basically dominated by Bollywood celebrities, one just feels that Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christopher Nolan, Steven Soderbergh, Oliver Stone, Michelle Yeoh and others of their ilk could have been included in an altogether different compilation.

Thankfully though, the finale is interesting with Anupama including her 20 odd columns into the book as well. The power here again lies in the fact that none of them overstay their limit and though not all of them are in the 'can't-put-them-away' type, you don't mind giving them a quick read. Moreover, Anupama peppers a few of them with some interesting anecdotes shared by the stars of the show, which keeps the smiles on.

Price: Rs. 395

Rating: ***1/2

Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama. Read more

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