Imagine yourself at the final rounds of a competitive Bollywood quiz contest. As you struggle to whip your slippery memory into helping you win the day, you realize the value of author Diptakirti Chaudhuri's 'Kitnay Aadmi Thay: Completely useless Bollywood trivia'. Bollywood and its contribution in shaping popular culture is widely acknowledged. The book caters to fans of Indian cinema who find films an inseparable part of their lives.
'Kitnay Aadmi Thay?' is the compilation of interesting facts from films such as the Hindi remake of 'The Godfather' to Rahul Roy's tiger avatar in 'Junoon'.
Though any correlation between consecutive chapters is hard to find, the structured presentation seems more or less satisfactory. It helps the reader in shifting focus from one to another trivia.
Surprisingly, Diptakirti's bias as a die-hard film fan is difficult to figure out; he tries to be critical of any hero, especially the big names. He has opted for a language which is more like an analyst's than of a fan. This line for example, "If people had any doubts about the strength, sense of humour and tolerance of Sikhs after 'Border', Sunny Deol returned to dispel all of them in 'Gadar'."
Stereotypes in Bollywood are also taken care of, the author says that "Christians in Bollywood drink a lot, swear in English, pepper their dialogues with 'man', have bombastic names and are by and large good Samaritans." Such lines make the book an interesting read.
However, interactivity seems to be missing in the book. Diptakirti's witty narrative could have been backed by quizzes for users. It's after all a book of facts, so the facts must be unique; fortunately the opposite is not the case. Did you know that a computer was first mentioned in the film 'Shakti'?
Fluency in the thought process is there but what impresses the most is the absence of any finality in the writers comments. He doesnt get into cerebral debates and keeps himself away from giving verdict on any actor or film.
'Kitnay Aadmi Thay?' is a fun read.
Book: Kitnay Aadmi Thay? - Completely Useless Bollywood Trivia; Author: Diptakirti ChaudhuriImprint; Westland; Format Paperback; Extent 310 pages; Price: Rs 275