Fahad Samar has been there, seen that. He was the guy standing in the background, tsk-tsking as yet another Bollywood scandal made a giant splash in the media’s paddling pool. He was the guy watching you as you devoured it, word after word, from your glossy magazine. And now he has a story to tell.
You may or may not have heard of Fahad, but if you were a teenager in the 90s, it is highly probable that some of the TV shows he directed ( Superhit Muqabla, BPL Oye and The Poppadam Show) were your major source of indoor entertainment.
The successful filmmaker, essayist and social commentator was in town recently to launch his first novel Scandal Point, published by HarperCollins. The book is a wittily-crafted social satire on the Bollywood high society and people’s obsession with celebrity and gossip.
Through the media-monitored lives of Ricky Kumar, son of a former Bollywood big shot, and NRI playboy Gautam Goyal, Fahad takes you to the B-town’s underbelly.
One of the reasons the book is compelling is the fact that Fahad is an insider. He “holds up a vanity mirror to the world he knows too well”, says Shantaram author Gregory David Roberts on his work.
When it was time to write the book he always wanted to write, says Fahad, he took a year off from work. The outline he drew at the beginning of the book came to nothing once the characters took over. “They would do the opposite of what I had planned for them,” he says.
What was meant to be a dark, pessimistically sculpted piece, turned out to be something else, he says, adding that the reviews have been anything but discouraging.
Fahad has been a filmmaker for most part of his life. He began his career with Merchant-Ivory Productions in 1987. Six years later he established his own company, Bombay Talkie. He has written regularly for leading newspapers and magazines on society, food and travel. He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Simone Singh, to whom he dedicates the book.
Flash Point, the sequel to his current offering, is already on its way. “It’s going to be a trilogy,” says the author. So if an insider's view of a Bollywood scandal titillates you, know that there's more of Fahad to be had.