Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Guest Post and Giveaway: Uma Krishnaswami

Why Bollywood?

I often get asked why I put Bollywood into this story. Am I a True Fan like Dini and Maddie? Did I admire a Bollywood star when I was young? Did I want to imagine my life as a movie? In short, no to all of the above. The term "Bollywood" hadn't even been invented when I was a kid!

I needed Dini to be passionate about something. It needed to be something with potential for tragedy and drama, humor, eccentricity, and hints of romance. What else could it possibly be? Dini had to be crazy about the kind of movie that is huge huge huge in India's popular culture, that the world now knows as the Bollywood movie.

It's always strange and funny when trends from India "hit" the West and suddenly get all kinds of media attention. That's what's happened with these movies, even though there's been a movie-making industry in India since the days of the silent films. I think that Dolly, the mega movie star in the book, probably doesn't care too much for the term "Bollywood." In a letter to her friend, she reveals that she's really a fan of classic Hindi films.

Here's a clip from an old Hindi movie.
So what's the point to all this? Why take the pop culture of a country around the world from the United States and place it in a book for young American readers? Dini and her friend Maddie could have been connected by almost anything. They could be fans of a popular singer or a Hollywood actor. Well, one reason is that we don't have a lot of books that feature culturally grounded stories that are pure fun, so I wanted to turn the tables and have the hyphenated-American kid call the shots about what was cool. I also wanted a kind of wackiness factor, and nothing else can do that like these "fillums." Lucky for me, the popularity of these movies in the US and in many other countries (you really can get them with Arabic and Thai subtitles!) made it possible. Also the fact that the BFFs are Bollywood fans allows the story to stretch from here to India and back, and it allows the kind of cheery optimism that I was after. These movies are crazy and defy credibility but they have energy and the music is quite wonderful. And most of the time they have happy endings. Call me Pollyanna but in this world of ours, I feel a great need for happy endings.

*** Grand Giveaway***

Three lucky Grand Prize winners will each receive one copy of THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING along with a starry assortment of bangles and trinkets that Dolly Singh, famous famous Bollywood movie star, would adore! An additional 3 runners-up will receive a copy of THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING.

To enter, send an e-mail to GrandPlanGiveaway

In the body of the e-mail, include your name, mailing address, and e-mail address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and e-mail address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on 6/30/11. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on 7/1/11 and notified via email.


The next stop on the tour is The Drift Record at http://julielarios.blogspot.com/.

Check out my review

Check out the book trailer:

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