Crashing B Town: Story behind lights, camera, action

Crashing B Town: Story behind lights, camera, action

US-based fashion journalist Tulika Mehrotra tries to pull back the curtain on Bollywood and attempts to explore what happens behind lights, camera and action in her new novel "Crashing B Town".

Mehrotra's debut novel "Delhi Stopover" dealt with the journey of struggling actress in Los Angeles, Lila, to India where she found herself drawn into the coveted modelling circuit of Delhi. She ends up as a much-in-demand model but soon begins a punishing routine of exercising and crash dieting and finally drugs.

"Crashing B Town" explores Lila's journey through a highly passionate and glamorous, but also notoriously shady, Hindi film industry- her clash with creative egos, her struggles with the eclectic city and, ultimately, her survival in the new environment.

Little does Lila know that the industry people – from the opinionated son of the director to the exploitative co-artistes around her; from the rumour-mongering media to her egotistical agents – are all going to try their best to spoil her dreams.

"I wanted to continue the conversation the issues faced by the youth generation. In addition, I had the great opportunity to pull back the curtain on the film industry. I wanted to show what happens behind the Lights Camera Action. I want the heavier subject matter to make readers ask serious questions," says Mehrotra about her new book, published by Penguin. The author, however, has no plans for a trilogy, saying, "I think I've said everything I needed to say about Lila's story."

Mehrotra, who was born in Lucknow and studied fashion at the European Institute of Design in Milan, says "Crashing B Town" is by no means an autobiographical account.

"It's not autobiographical. I don't think I'm as interesting as Lila in real life. Yes I incorporated things that I observed around me and came across in my research but on the whole, Lila's story is not mine," she says.

To Mehrotra, being only a model or only an actress seems too limiting.

"To be only a model or only an actress wouldn't have offered as much satisfaction. I find writing to give me far more creative freedom and control. Writing is such an interesting monster. I can't imagine not writing...but I will never say that writing is easy. In fact, I think it gets harder with every new project... the challenge of it keeps me on my toes."

A frequent writing on fashion issues, she feels the Indian fashion industry is still growing.

"I have seen models who have maintained their status for years. Their faces may be a little haggard over years of abusive nutrition but their bodies still fit the clothes. For most, I think the field is transitional in their careers. It is difficult to maintain the lifestyle and aesthetic needs of a high fashion model and there will always be newer, younger faces to compete with," she says.

"The Indian fashion industry has received quite a lot of international attention and that designers are feeling more comfortable taking risks. I still think it has a ways to go but I am thrilled that it's headed in the right direction."

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