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Desire’s desi debut

For all those who snigger at the standard Bollywood plot — boy meets girl, both are in conflict and then live happily ever after, not to mention a few high points in between — it’s time to eat humble pav.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2008 00:03 IST

For all those who snigger at the standard Bollywood plot — boy meets girl, both are in conflict and then live happily ever after, not to mention a few high points in between — it’s time to eat humble pav. No less than the high priest of romance, director of Harlequin Mills & Boon, Andrew J. Go, has launched a subsidiary in India. And, as in real-life romance, the publisher has popped the vital question — in this case the launch — right on time; don’t forget that Valentine’s Day is just round the corner.

To celebrate its foray into the Indian bazaar, the M&B readership interestingly includes a healthy percentage of men unlike in other countries, the group has decided to Indianise its product. So instead of the debonair American or Spanish tycoon as the hero, we will get our own desi version. The first title for the Indian market, The Virgin for the Billionaire’s Taking (doesn’t leave much to the imagination, does it?) will have a maharaja’s brother as the hero. However, the prince in shining pagdi will not be from the old world; instead, he will be a billionaire and a property mogul. Mills & Boon, which sells nearly 200 million romantic novels a year, believes that the new made-for-India product — with its virginal, vulnerable heroines and tall, dark heroes — will be a runaway hit. But the company’s decision to hold back some of the ‘steamier’ titles will disappoint many.

What about the heroine? No one is talking about her except that she is a ‘virgin’. As if we had to be told that. And, following the Bollywood trajectory, we are sure there’ll be the big fat Indian wedding. Looks like the next blockbuster is already in the making. Now what is Karan Johar’s number?