Bollywood life

Review of My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

At Nisha Sharma My so called bollywood life will have you aggressively swooning at least once while making you want to add every possible Bollywood movie to your Netflix queue.

My exposure to the world of Bollywood movies begins and ends with exactly one movie – Marriage and prejudice – that I love. Unfortunately, even though I know Bollywood movies as a movie genre, and even though I always thought they would be 100% the exact kind of movie I would like, I’ve always been a bit intimidated because I’ve never really known where to start.

Luckily, now I have Nisha Sharma’s My so called bollywood life and its fantastic protagonist Winnie Mehta to guide my way through the wonderful world of Bollywood movies.

The story centers on Winnie after she breaks up with Raj, her boyfriend of three years. This throws her for a bit of a loop – more than usual – because a pundit literally predicted to her that she would meet her soul mate before she turned 18, her name would start with the letter ‘R’ and he would offer- him a silver bracelet. And Raj ticks all of those boxes — so soul mate won, right?

Except apparently not, since she returns from film camp to find out he’s dating someone else – and to make matters worse, they still have to co-run the Film Club and plan the huge festival together. of the movie. Add to that Dev, an old friend and fellow film club member whom she suddenly begins to see in a new light, and you have the perfect story to explain how Winnie Mehta’s real life became her own movie. Bollywood.

I’m a longtime, proud, and (some might say rather aggressive) supporter of the rom-com genre. I watch When Harry Met Sally every New Year’s Eve, will put Pride and Prejudice (the 2005 version) every rainy day and will wear You’ve got mail at the end of a long and trying day.

There’s just something comforting about inhabiting a world where people fall in love wildly, where grand gestures are made, shenanigans happen, dramatic events take place – but no matter what, you always know that It’s gonna end with a big fucking kiss and happily ever after.

That’s why I love this book and the character of Winnie, both for her love of Bollywood films – which offer all the traits I love so much about American romantic comedies – and for the way she navigates his own romantic entanglements.

See, Winnie and author Nisha Sharma You understand. They get the appeal of these kinda silly stories. They understand why these types of movies are still popular. They understand what they have to offer, both as a film genre and as a lens for viewing your own struggles and triumphs.

When Dev, a clearly superior romantic choice, gently teases Winnie for her love of Bollywood films, she very succinctly and wonderfully explains exactly what this genre has to offer us –

“People love movies because of the romance, emotion, and passion the characters feel. It’s easy to get carried away by the magic as long as you have a flexible suspension of disbelief.

Romance pervades every page of this book. It is at the beginning of each chapter, which offers us a short review of a popular Bollywood movie. It’s in the idea of ​​fate, soulmates, and prophecies, which are so intertwined in Winnie’s story and her romantic choices so far. It’s in the flow of the story itself, which has all my favorite rom-com tropes used in all the best ways possible.

Honestly, I had to put the book down a few times with my hand over my heart because Nisha Sharma does romance so well. And it’s so wonderful every time to read a story about marginalized communities that doesn’t focus on pain or crisis, but rather allows its characters to go through the very normal hardships and tears of high school romance.

Plus, what Nisha Sharma understands so well — and what you understand best if you watch a lot of romantic movies — is that the best love stories can’t just be about romance. Love, romance, and relationships cannot exist in a vacuum – that’s not realistic or healthy or even very interesting.

Instead, the best love stories, like the best real-life romances, are those that are less about romance and more about growing up, both as individuals and as a couple. And that growth can only happen if you have complex, complicated characters who challenge each other and go through difficult situations, who have a loving support system to facilitate that growth.

Luckily for her – and for us who read her story – Winnie Mehta has it all in her life, which makes reading about her journey a pure joy. She has a loving best friend, Bridget, who is supportive but keeps her grounded. She has an ex who is not just a one-note villain, but someone she has a long history with and cares about outside of romance. She has a love-turned-boyfriend she cares about, but she must also learn to be supportive and compromise.

Last but not least, she has two fantastic parents who support her, love her unconditionally and hold her accountable.

And it’s that very last side of the story – her parents – that really elevates the novel from being good to one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

“Oh, don’t give me that American attitude ‘but, mom’. You’re Indian. You’re dealing with this drama. It’s in your dhadkan, your heartbeat.

As the child of immigrants, I have always enjoyed reading children’s novels that highlight the sometimes frustrating, often complicated, but almost always loving relationship between immigrant parents and their children. I think these relationships are important to highlight in YA reads, and I’m so grateful every time I see a YA novel depicting these experiences.

What I loved so much about this particular novel – and what felt so refreshing to me – was how supportive Winnie’s parents and grandmother were. Yes, they tried to push her towards Raj more than necessary, and they were a bit overbearing as all parents – but especially immigrant parents – often seem to be.

But, at the end of the day, her parents have always been supportive of her — not just in her love life, but in her personal life. Far from micromanaging or dictating her every personal and professional move, they instead gave her both the freedom and support to pursue it. own dreams and make him own decisions, even if they didn’t necessarily agree with them or like them.

It’s a relationship between immigrant parents and their children that we don’t always see in the media, but that we desperately need. Because yes, many immigrant parent-child relationships are strained and difficult and that deserves to be shown — but also those that present decidedly less difficult struggles.

This is the experience I had with my own parents, who I’m sure would have preferred to see me go to law school or medical school, but who applauded me just as loudly. when I graduated in education. It’s an experience that so many immigrant readers have with their own parents, and I’m glad to see it presented here with such love and honesty.

“I knew one day I was going to have a girl who would do all of this much better than I ever could.”

“How did you know?” »

“I followed my heart. »

The quote above comes near the end of the book, when Winnie asks her father if he regrets making certain decisions in his life because of the influence of others.

Her response not only brought me to tears, but it also summed up so much of what I loved about this story. It highlights, once again, the unconditional love and support of Winnie’s parents – their belief in their daughter and her choices, their understanding of what she is capable of accomplishing.

It also sums up the theme of the story and what Winnie had to learn – that the endless debate about fate, prophecy and kindred spirits means nothing if you don’t know how to both listen to your heart and follow where it takes you. led.

At Nisha Sharma My so called bollywood life is a mind-blowing, breathtakingly romantic, and feel-good story that should absolutely land in your hands as soon as possible.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch every Shah Rukh Khan Bollywood movie I can get my hands on.

My so called bollywood life by Nisha Sharma is available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local independent bookstore. Also, don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads “to read” list!