bollywood diaries‘If Sunny Leone can make it big in the film industry, why can’t I?’

This is what Raima Sen, playing a prostitute in Bollywood Diaries believes, even as she tries to step into the world of films. Of course porn and prostitution are two different worlds. However, when it comes to the common element – trade centered on the matters of skin – the thought process of a young woman could well be justifiable.

Then there is Ashish Vidyarthi, who could well be influenced by Boman Irani. Latter made his debut as an actor at the age of 41. Though Ashish plays a 50 something man, he still believes it is not too late.

And then there is of course Salim Diwan, who represents thousands of youngsters who believe that countless reality shows on television could be the stepping stone for Bollywood. Well, if only he could have closely studied the fate of many actors who won such talent hunt contests and are still struggling to make it big, he could well have returned to his steady job as a call center executive.

However, Bollywood dreams never die and each of the three aforementioned chapters form the core of director K.D. Satyam’s Bollywood Diaries. The film could well be his tale. The 38 year old man was told by friends and family members that one needs to be at least 40 year old before Bollywood gives an opportunity in direction. Well, he has managed that a couple of years earlier and if the film is any indication, Satyam is truly in command of his subject.

For starters, films with such themes tend to turn depressing or way too serious. However, Satyam makes sure that while the sensitivity of the affairs is maintained, the proceedings don’t drag. This means there are many moments in there which bring on the entertainment quotient. In fact, this is where newcomer Salim Diwan throws in good surprises as he plays the bad actor with aplomb. So even though the fun is at expense while he tries to please the judges and commoners alike, he doesn’t mind that as long as the dream lives on. A tough role to play, he gets it bang on while reaching out deep into his characterization.

This is where Satyam’s strength as a storyteller comes to the fore since he delves well into the psyche of these diverse characters, without making it come across as overburdening or depressing. He says things the way they are. Of course, he steers clear from Madhur Bhandarkar way of narration, which means there isn’t a shock emerging every 15 minutes. With one character being a prostitute and another a youngster caught in the reality show world of TRP, Satyam had the platform in place to bring on ample elements of sleaze, pathos, rejection, frustration and outburst. However, he resists the temptation.

He also does well in keeping his drama crisp with a good cinematic feel to it, even though he is limited by budget which had to be controlled, considering the genre and cast he was dealing with. However, what he concentrates on most is to ensure that his story is heard without losing its sanctity and in that aspect he succeeds. This is where he gets good support from the music too which goes well with the narration.

Meanwhile, the performances stay on to be good, as is the case most of the times when an ensemble affair like this is put together. So while Salim is the surprise package of the film, Ashish Vidyarthi shows that despite 200 films behind him, he can still be as charged as ever in portrayals of varied characters. As for Raima Sen, she has never hit a wrong note in the Hindi appearances she has made in last 15 years. One just hopes that she continues to be persistent in her good choices in months to come as well.

Of course a film like this isn’t the kind that covers a distance greater than its reach, and in that aspect it keeps its ambitions in check as well without making audiences promise something bigger than what it truly is.

Joginder Tuteja tweets @tutejajoginder

Movie Review: Bollywood Diaries