Bombay Duck Is A Fish

In Kanika Dhillon’s Bombay Duck Is A Fish, a young woman realizes that sometimes, dreams can be very misleading.

Review by Kiran Cabral

Bombay Duck Is A Fish starts with the protagonist Neki Brar, a small town girl moving to Mumbai to pursue a career as a film maker in Bollywood. Little does she know that nothing comes ‘the easy way’ in Mumbai.

Neki starts working as the fourth Assistant Director in a film by one of the top Directors in Bollywood, Fiza Kareem. In the process, she learns to manoeuvre between the blame games, the fine art of deceiving and false promises. A doomed love story also comes visiting, in the form of Ranvir Khanna, the handsome and charming actor who manages to insert himself into her life. Eventually the once-naive girl turns into a cunning and shrewd Assistant Director and starts climbing the ladder of success. Somewhere in between the rivalry, ambition, betrayal, politics and egos she discovers the beauty of her own ambition and the illusions of true love.

This book is all about Dreams, Reality, Love, Struggle, Honesty, Ethics, Politics, Mumbai, Films and the misconception that ‘Bombay Duck’ (bombil) is in fact a fish (bombil).

The first thought that came to my mind after reading this book was, ‘It’s a total waste of time’. Even though you get an insight into film making and the other ‘filmy’ activities, you feel cheated that the main protagonist is so weak. On the positive side, the first person narrative helps the reader uncover his/her dreams and makes you connect with Neki and feel her emotions and state of mind. She also adds an intriguing statement – ‘If you want to fulfil your dreams, Mumbai is the city for you; and if you want to get lost, Mumbai is the city for you’.

The author happens to be an avid Sharukh Khan fan, besides being the Creative Head of the actor’s Red Chillies Entertainment and has dedicated the book to him. Shahrukh says something curious, that it’s the story of his life’s journey and everyone who believes in their dreams should read this book. A puzzling statement as this book is about unfulfilled dreams, weaknesses and failures, so one wonders what exactly he is trying to convey.

Read it if you want to know the workings and juicy inside stories of Bollywood, but don’t expect any insight.

Publishers: Westland/Tranquebar Press

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