They have been frowned on by purists in the literary world. They have also been devoured by millions of teenage girls and have maintained their cult status. You either love Mills and Boon (M&B) stories or hate them, but you can’t ignore them. The stories of the tall, dark, handsome man sweeping the damsel in distress off her feet have almost always ignited the image of ideal romance in young minds. The ideal romance that often lends itself naturally to a Bollywood rom-com plot and hence, endears Indian sensibilities.
For the first time, a Mills and Boon novella penned by an Indian author will hit bookstands. Delhi-based writer Milan Vohra, who won the Passions Writing Contest organised by the publishers Harlequin Mills and Boon India in December 2008, has just launched her book The Love Asana.
The story revolves around an NRI Vivan, who falls passionately in love with Pari, a yoga teacher. Vohra, who picked up her first M&B at the age of 15 knew that her Indian hero had an added advantage. She laughs, “He’s got the song-dance routine to fall back on! But seriously, the average Indian hero, without my wanting to generalise, seems to have more external conflicts that hold him back from being with the one he loves.”
The author feels that all M&B plots compliment Bollywood rom-coms. “I’m surprised Bollywood hasn’t turned to them for ‘inspiration’ yet! I can totally see Isha Sharwani as Pari and Abhay Deol as Vivan,” she says. In fact, filmmakers have already approached her, but she is not ready to divulge any details yet.
Unlike the cocktail dresses that M&B heroines wear, Pari will mostly wear yoga garments, salwar kameezes and a sari on her wedding day. Vohra, who dated her husband for seven years before they tied the knot, asserts she hasn’t taken any cues from her own love story. “I wanted both my protagonists to be unlike anyone I know. Even the names don’t belong to anybody I personally associate with. But yes, some of my personal memories of the character of Delhi have crept into it,” she informs.
You could be the next Indian author to write a Mills and Boon story. To participate in the Passions writing contest, log on to www.millsandboonindia.com .