Care to read a tangy Bollywood action movie full of handsome villainous hero, dacoits, ambitions, romance, dramas and more? Zoravar by Maharsh Shah can be an answer to that. This first offering from Shah’s Bollywood Saga is quite a start to a book that copies from the very movies that have charmed Indians since Dadasaheb Phalke decided to push the Indian film industry. Bollywood masala movies are a staple and we cannot get enough of it. Shah has captured that essence in Zoravar with a few odd spots still remaining.
You meet 16-year-old Zoravar Cheema living in 1945 Lahore, India and besotted by the movie business. Half Sikh and half Pashtun, the rather good-looking Zoravar will go to any length to fulfil his dream of becoming a movie star. Post partition, living a non-descript life in Phugwara does not go well with him. A chance episode makes him a fugitive and part of a legendary dacoit’s gang. But, life has different things planned for him. Zoravar reaches Mumbai, but his journey towards stardom is interspersed with his past, filmy drama and much more.
Most are used to seeing Indians films or even serials full of drama, twists and turns and shock. A bit of melodrama always makes us happy. And, Shah has captured that well in the book. You live the journey through Zoravar. You feel for him when he goes through personal drama. You are angry at things not going his way, but cheer the very next moment when he gets the opportunity. His success, his flaws, his affairs or lack of interest in family at times, his struggles... all become part of you. Just like the countless movies or serials you have seen till date.
Because it is part of the Bollywood Saga, the narration is kept a bit like a masala movie though at times, one does feel Shah slows a bit. You are not just witness to Zorawar’s journey, but his saga is mixed with real-life Bollywood biggies from that time, right from Dilip Kumar to Raj Kapoor to Dev Anand and Nargis. You name it and they are there. It feels as if pages from Indian film history are flowing out.
Zoravar: Book one in the Bollywood Saga by Maharsh Shah is an appealing book if Bollywood, masala movies, thriller and upheavals is something you enjoy. Don’t let the in-between slow pace put you off. The next saga from this stable will be keenly awaited.
Book: Zoravar: Book One in the Bollywood Saga
Author: Maharsh Shah
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Price: Rs. 299