Gauri Sinh

Confessions of a reluctant Bollywood Editor

b2ap3_thumbnail_item-number-1When I was first asked to pen a few words for this blog, (long before it became this polished, professional entity it is, today) I had refused. What could I elaborate on, my relationship with B-Town has always been reluctant at best.

As a fashion model, then fashion journalist after marriage, and finally a couple major lifestyle papers’/magazines’ editor, Bollywood in the early days had appeared as a sort of forced-upon-my-plate agenda, part of the entire package I was to edit. One of the most important parts, I should add. But I was wary. B-Town journalists as a rule were a different breed, I even treated them differently, as editor.

For one, their story ideas didn’t arrive till the wee hours, in fact they were at their creative best from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. AFTER the day’s edition was gone. Obviously keeping pace with Bollywood Standard Time, evening was when Tinseltown came up alive. Most actors didn’t surface before 12 noon, I was told.

Then there was the whole thing of actually dealing with these journalists. Many Bollywood journalists (not all, but many) in those days were a rather snooty lot, holding themselves apart from the rest, behaving as if they owned the room. And should things not go their way – the tantrums, the tears, the high drama!!

Much like B-Town itself, I was told. It was their way or the high way. Do you blame me for not being a fan of either the team or the subject in those initial days? It was like Alice and the White Rabbit – I (as Alice) wasn’t quite sure where I was going but I went along for the journey, anyway.

Times change. Over the years of my editorship alone, Bollywood changed. A new lot of actors and journalists came in. From aloof strangers, the actors became those I had worked with as a model, most of who I knew as people who are young and travel the world together and share meals and fun and tears often do – very closely.b2ap3_thumbnail_bollywood-selfie

The rules changed too. A new professionalism, modelled along international lines, wherein each star had a PR team, so greener journos didn’t need to cosy up to the snooty senior journalist to get access to the star, they did it all on their own.

And soon enough – the web, which changed the term ‘access’ altogether. Stars could now build relationships directly with their audience via blogs and tweets, they really didn’t need the wrong information that sometimes found its way into badly written stories. A new era, a certain ease of functioning for both sides began. Over the years, we grew up, Bollywood and I, together, to my surprise. Who knew it would turn out to be so strange and wonderful?!

And so my genuine fondness for Tinseltown, not a new love, but one hidden till the time was right, reserved for those you call family. A well-oiled more professional machine of a family now, with younger and younger entrants as time goes by.

So the wheel turns. And B-Town manages to charm even the most reluctant of its spectators, yet again, I’m sure. As for me, that drama in people, in personalities in the newsroom and out that I so used to get riled by- now it’s actually much missed!

… So much so that I decided to include high drama in my new book, out now. It is not a difficult read, but you need to pay attention, and its secrets reveal themselves to you. Mystical yet rooted in reality (quite like the way Bollywood perceives itself!) it chronicles the story of an apocalypse, told in different voices and timelines.

Take a look. Maybe, with the right patronage, it’ll be a movie, one day J?! And then the cycle will repeat itself…

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