Guns, glamour and struggling starlet, those are the ingredients of author Rajal Pitroda’s debut novel. Based on the connection between Bollywood and the Mumbai mafia, the key character in the book is loosely based on the author herself. “I worked with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for three years, meeting with producers, directors and distributors and getting to know how the industry works,” Pitroda reveals, adding, “The research that went into this book is the knowledge I gained during this time. Starstruck is a collection of my experiences with Bollywood, presented in a fictionalised sense.”
Ask her what motivated her to write the tome and she says, “I would share my experiences with my friends in the US, and had decided to turn them into a memoir. Then, one of my friends suggested that I convert it into a novel.” In the book, lead character Sapna Shah is sucked into the underbelly of Mumbai’s film industry after a meeting renowned producer, Gautam Gupta.
After a mob boss murders her co-worker, she suddenly wakes up to the realisation that there is more to movies than song and dance. Molls and mob bosses aside, did she explore any of Bollywood’s other infamous issues like drugs or the casting couch? “The book is just a one-sided perspective on Bollywood. There aren’t any negative or positive traits I have explored. Though, I did delve into issues of honesty and excessive glamour.”