Book Review : Made in India

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Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

He was the boy with gold in his hair.

As a child, Biddu dreamt of going west and making it big as a composer. At the age of sixteen, he formed a band and started playing in a cafe in Bangalore, his home town, At eighteen, he was part of a popular act at Trinca’s, a nightclub in Calcutta devoted to food, wine and music, At nineteen, he had college students in Bombay dancing to his music. In his early twenties, he left the country and ended up hitchhiking across the middle Fast before arriving in London with only the clothes on his back and his trusty guitar.

What followed were years of hardship and struggle but also great music and gathering fame. From the nine million selling King Fun Fighting to the iconic youth anthem of made in India and the numerous hits in between. Biddu’s music made him a household name in India and elsewhere.

In this first public account of all that came his way the people, the events,the music tours and companies Biddu writes with a very sense of humor about his remarkable journey with its fairy tale ending, Charming, witty, and entirely likable, Biddu is a man you are going to enjoy getting to know.

Review:

Made in India and Biddu are synonymous with my teens. The name still invokes a lot of nostalgia when we used to go ga-ga over Alisha Chinai’s stylish version of ‘Made in India’. It was sensual, melodious and a revolution at that time with Milind Soman in the video. That’s when I first heard of Biddu and loved his music subsequently in numerous tracks.

Since music is interesting, the autobiography of a musician must be too. That was my idea when this book came for review and Biddu didn’t disappoint his readers. The story begins where it should, from his childhood in 1940s and ’50s. What struck me the most is humour, at times it veers to satire on various subjects. India, right after independence still allures me and I wanted to read an account from someone who’s lived in a different part of the country (having heard stories from my father who lived in Calcutta during that era). There was unemployment,  a new Government ruling the country, lot of British people still serving and living in India, and Bangalore was a serene, cute little city.

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Massy or Classy – Who Reads These Books and Why?

Writersmelon is proud to be a partner at the Tata Lit Live! Mumbai Literature Festival 2015. This is a guest article from one of the team members at Writersmelon who attended the litfest curtain raiser blogger meet in Mumbai. 

The Tata Lit Live is in its 6th year now and one of the best Literature Festivals in Mumbai. They organized a blogger meet ahead of the festival on 20th October and Writersmelon is proud to be associated with it.

Image Courtesy: Zohra Merchant

Ravi Subramanian, Deepa Gahlot and Anil Dharker. Image Courtesy: Zohra Merchant

After facing some bad traffic and munching upon super yummy snacks at Café Zoe in Lower Parel, I got on board with the discussion. The panel comprised of three diverse personalities – Ravi Subramanian , one of my favourite authors, someone I admire for his super balancing act between being a banker by the day & author by the night, Deepa Gahlot – author of King Khan – SRK and festival director Anil Dharker. For the curtain raiser event of Tata Lit Live, they had chosen a very relevant topic of discussion, especially for creative professionals – “Is Freedom of Speech threatening Democracy itself?”

From freedom to express political, social & creative viewpoints, the discussion headed to one of my favourite topics –

What is crappy but massy, classy but élite content for a book?

Why are so many ‘crappy/massy’ books being published these days?

Do they really deserve to be printed at the first place?

The answer to all this, again lies in that powerful word called ‘Freedom’.

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Books and Music…Music and Books… by Biddu

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Are they country cousins or blood brothers linked by a certain commonality?

Music came to me from a very early age. It came from an ambition to make a career from what I loved. To make something of myself. Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones etc, they were the soundtrack of my youth and I wanted some of what they were having. It was glamourous and sexy, fun and ego boosting, being up there on stage. It was also a great way of meeting girls!

The idea of writing novels came to me much later, when I was older, slightly wiser and because I needed to do something apart from music which I had been doing since the age of 13. I was sitting on a beach in Spain having taken a break from music and gradually boredom set in. I was pretty healthy for my age, my brain cells were still working, so I was thinking of what I could do that would interest me. I did not have to be passionate about it, but interested surely. I was thinking of opening a restaurant or writing a novel. I knew nothing of running a restaurant and even less on writing books.

But ignorance is a great motivator, so while mulling over these two ideas and as the waves lapped the shore line, I realised the discipline in writing books was very similar to creating music. You spend hours on your computer which is linked to your keyboard and you spend all day working a melody. Some days the music you create sounds like a dog’s dinner, on other days it sounds pretty symphonic and hot. Working on a novel is also a lonely gig. You look at a blank page on your lap top and then hope the words flow in sentences that are eloquent, dramatic and make for an interesting narrative. You can write a few lines or a chapter in a day depending on the groove of your feeling. In music and in writing books, there’s no point waiting for inspiration or you could be waiting for Armageddon! You just get on with it.

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Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Biddu was born in India, where he started his career playing in a pop band whose influences lay in the classic repertoire of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Following his early success, he decided to hear West and move into the international music arena. He struck gold, signing the unknown Carl Douglas and producing “Kung Fu Fighting?” which went on to become a hit all over the world. He also wrote and produced hits for Tina Charles and soul legend Jimmy James.Around this time, Biddu became involved in Indian music: he composed the cult “Aap Jaise Koi” for the film Qurbani which set a new landmark for sales in India He followed this up with a pop album, Disco Deewane, with Nazia Hassan, which became the largest selling pop album in Asian history, and was the first Indian album to hit the charts in fourteen countries. In 1995, Biddu wrote and produced the three-million-selling album Made in India with the singer Alisha Chinai. To date, Biddu has sold over thirty-eight million records worldwide.

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Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

#RealTogetherness Amidst Nature

kissanpur

It so happened that stress claimed a lot of grit and soul from us since the past year. I think there isn’t a single person who hasn’t been invaded by stress and the maladies of our modern lives. There’s a rigid routine each day – wake up, get ready for work, commute via congested and polluted roads, work hard, invite more stress, irregular eating habits and feeling all drained at the end of the day. Most of us go through all of these each day, each month and every year. It leaves us tired and exasperated with life. At least I’ve seen most people I know turn into a working zombie due to the grind of our lifestyle.

The road that is lost in the forest, towards Arthur's Seat, Mahabaleshwar

The road that is lost in the forest, towards Arthur’s Seat, Mahabaleshwar

Tired of being stressed, I had planned a trip to Mahabaleshwar, mostly to cool our heels. Little did I know that it would present us with a wonderful opportunity to fill our lungs with fresh mountain air and cleanse our souls. I had just an idea that our hotel wasn’t located in the midst of the city marketplace, rather it was far away. When we arrived in the hotel, road tripping for four hours, it took our breath away. Completely away from the tiny hill city and actually inside the forest, it scared me a little. With a balcony that has the forest descending from its steps, and the loud crackling of crickets, the room didn’t let me sleep well the first night! It was my first time in the forest, and I was almost petrified.

But the next morning began with a lot of sunshine and a lovely garden in the hotel. Fresh blooms and aesthetically arranged flowers in the hotel lobby acted very therapeutic for us. Trust me, the three days we spent there turned out to be mostly cut away from civilisation, barring the television. We didn’t have to worry our heart out with work and stress, home management and groceries, paying bills or even calling people. Fresh forest odours filled our lungs in the morning and cleansed the soot of stress from us.

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