Dhandapolis is a set of three stories set in Bollywood, written between 2009-2012 in Mumbai. These short stories explore various facets of life and relationships through intimate and exasperating encounters in the city of dreams.
Aaja Aaja Bombay encapsulates the outsider experience in the film city:
“The industry first humiliates you. You’re new and you don’t really know how it works. Every trivial task they assign you will come with too much pressure. You’re a headstrong guy. Here everybody will give you enough reasons to f**k off. But you please your god; this set is your shrine. Your director understands; your seniors are experienced. They know how to deal with a newcomer. They also know how to handle a problem child.”
Dhandapolis is a Kafkaesque take on the moral and ethical corruption in the industry:
“Your naked belly is studded with diamonds, stars and gold. You are a mosque and a shrine. You also remind me of the naked woman in the bar, dancing to the clattering of champagne bottles and slippery goblets, silencing the gunshots and shrapnel-plague. The civil war ravaged the countryside and then raided the city. I wanted to make films about the war, and the girl in the dance bar, before I went to the film school. I guess I was people then.”
Love Edit is a love story set in the heart of Bollywood. Renu Sharma is a film editor in Bombay, living an ordinary life with a struggling filmmaker for a husband. The quest for happiness and fulfillment through cinema brings their lives to an eventual freeze—until the man plots a new story about the two of them, a newborn child and the sea. “Love Edit” is a simple short story about love and its thousand shades: some beautiful, some ugly. Excerpt:
“The good day doesn’t last. It’s gone before you take note of it. It’s the seed of good work which remains. She spotted familiar young faces of models and actors in the jogging lot as she walked towards her apartment. What is it that brings them out in the street so early and keeps them working out so late? She doesn’t understand these folks, she thought. I have a husband for a filmmaker; but he doesn’t have to appear in front of the camera. He is happy conjuring up his shots in his dreams while I cut them till four in the morning! There is little to complain though and she knows this is the best arrangement so far. This was the first time she got a break in her two-year marriage. The man takes care of her little girl; the woman takes care of his baby. Which is more difficult, they should ask me: raising a film or raising a baby? She knows the answer. She has raised both.”