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Last Updated 30.03.2020 | 10:07 PM IST



Book Review: Cinema: Jeeven Ki Paathshaala – A regressive take on cinema

Jeeven Ki Paathshaala

Jeeven Ki Paathshaala

To begin with though, I was quite interested to know what does author Jayprakash Choksey has to offer in this 175 odd page pocket book affair. More so since it is in Hindi and one seldom comes across books on Bollywood that are written in the national language. Moreover the very concept (of drawing parallels between movies and real life) was intriguing enough as well. Not to mention the fact that there around 50 odd chapters in the book which last only 3-4 pages each. This means that 'Cinema: Jeeven Ki Paathshaala' promises to be a quick read that doesn't require a reader to worry much when it comes to continuity.

Alas, all such selling points turn out to be merely academic since the book doesn't just fail in engaging you at all, it also makes one wonder what the author was really thinking when penning down the pieces. Choksey's portfolio pretty much conveys that he is a learned man with quite a few interests both inside and outside the film industry. This is all the more reason for one to feel further discontented.

The book does try to bring in elements of sleaze, drama, casting couch and other catchy topics that are expected to catch a reader's attention. However the detailing out here turns out to be so peripheral that one only ends up treating it as an observer's take on affairs instead of someone who really saw (or truly wanted to tell) what was really happening behind the curtains. Even otherwise for those who are fed on books which are written in English, the language used here appears to be a tad offensive that further puts you away.

For example, while talking about junior artists, a section in one of the chapters goes as follows:

"....yeh ladkiyaan (apni) film ki DVD chote shehron se aiyaashi ke liye Mumbai aaye grahakon ko dikhati hain aur apni sewaaon ke liye anek graahakon se moti rakam paati hain. Yeh lampat log apne kasbe mein lautkar deeng haankte hai ki 'sitaare' ke saath sehwaas karke aaye hain"

There is more when it comes to 'characterless husbands' and how their wives 'detect' their misadventures. Have a look:

"Stree ke chetna kuch iss dhang ki hoti hai ki koyi peeche se uski ardh anavrit peeth par bhi nigaah gadhaaye, toh uski chetna mein samaaya adrishya antenna usse taaka-jhaanki karne ki jaankaari de deta hai"

Really, with such text and context in the offering, it is quite an arduous task to go through the entire book. Still I did that and to my further horror realised that the very flow in the written material leads one to question if it is indeed a senior writer at work here. Perhaps that's his style but it seems a little weird to go through chapters that start in one direction, head towards another and then end in an altogether different one. In fact at places the end is so abrupt that you wonder whether a chapter had been consciously edited and then cut off from the very end since the target of '3 pages per chapter' had to be met!

Frankly, this has to go down as one of the most regressive books ever written on Hindi cinema. Not just does it appear to be a backward account of how movies are churned out of Bollywood and the way they are perceived by the audience, it also claims to take a chapter out of the world of films and relate that with lives in general. Unfortunately though, it fails on both counts, hence turning out to be a torrid reading experience that just makes you flip through pages in frenzy and in the end getting really annoyed with the written material.

Price: Rs. 125/-

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