Fiction’s new knight

Fiction’s new knight

Author Nico Raposo taps into his Indian connection for his new series, “Bollywood Knights”. KASTURI RAMANATHAN 

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The energy that trickles over, facial expressions that narrate vibrancy, the zest that creates an enthusiastic atmosphere, a zany sense of humour, animated stories from around the world that keeps us enthralled… all this could very well describe Nico Raposo,  author, film director, photographer, painter, animator and lyricist. Coming from a family of entertainers, who call a variety of nations home — from Brazil to India and England to Turkey — he took up various jobs to support his writing career. His two new novels from the “Bollywood Knight” series — Shoot the Peacock and Shoot the Crow — are just out. Excerpts from a conversation.

What’s the reason for a series with a Bollywood theme?

I have a large Indian family. And Bollywood has bowled over my nieces and nephews. Also, most of my immediate kin is from this arena. So I knew that this concept would work well in terms of reach and popularity!

Were people expecting you to enter the entertainment sector?

Believe me, my dad wanted me to tread down an engineer or doctor’s path. Maybe society thought that money was more stable there. I guess my showman genes were stronger. Writing was like a calling for me. I had to share what was in me and writing awakens my inner self. It seemed the only natural and logical occupation!

You are a playwright and a novelist. What are the challenges behind crafting both?

Personally, both are fun and challenging! I like talking and mimicking. Dialogues are a part of me, so scripting it out has an easy flow. Prose needs a sense of surrounding. Character sketches must be sharp and distinctive. A sense of humour must exist as well. The plot needs special mention in both cases.

Most writers face a “writer’s block”. How have you handled this?

For almost a year, I faced it. I had this feeling that my work did not reach expectations. Not being able to write with the usual fluidity was killing me. Finally, I figured out that my writing did not need to live up to others’ fancies; it really does not matter. Mentally, I just had to restructure myself!

How receptive has India been to this series?

I have received great compliments. Kids have loved it. Each person found something to latch onto. This was all that I wanted. I am elated!

The three teen detectives — are they supposed to be real sleuths or do they hit upon mysteries by chance? 

It’s basically because they don’t want private detective agencies to be involved due to loyalty and publicity issues that grip the movie business.

The most intriguing character?

Mitul, he is very meticulous; my exact image! And maybe Raj as well; he has a famous father like me.  

What can we expect in the future?

As many as I can write from the same series. To make “Bollywood Knights” a household name!

Do you write for critical acclaim or for commercial reasons?

I write for myself; for the joy of writing; and to make people read.

A message for your readers…

Reading helps every form of human activity! It aids cognition and communication. It makes you switch to thinking mode. And when reading becomes a habit, creatively decoding and encoding abstract thoughts, ideas and images transpires. This instigates that sixth sense. It brings in an out-of-the-box thinking and inspires. Books are, unlike the Internet, an open window with a plastic bag on your head! When you read, you definitely have something to talk about somewhere. It is of use forever!

Advice to the younger writers…

Writing is a constructive pastime. It need not have any certified direction. Just express whatever captivated you. Pen about 250 words a day to refresh your thinking. This eill automatically instil awareness. These words may not add up to much, but it ensures that your time is spent wisely. While writing, an innovative spark might light up your world!

What’s the good word?

  • Favourite Country: India
  • Harvard University: Passion
  • Sports: zilch
  • Music: Any genre
  • Politics: Left
  • Religion: None
  • Superstitions: Many!
  • Food: Vada!
  • Proudest career moment: Unpacking the Penguin India package with my books in it.
  • Perfect holiday: With children at any historic city or a museum.
  • Favourite Bollywood movie: Delhi Belly
  • Favourite Bollywood hero: Raj Kapoor
  • Favourite Bollywood heroine: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
  • Are awards and honours important? No.
  • Aversion towards: Racism
  • A weakness for: Books
  • Life as a corporate business man: Not very joyful!

REVIEW:

Title: Shoot the Crow; Shoot the Peacock

Author: Nico Raposo

Publisher: Penguin

Price: Rs. 199 each

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Bollywood! Rags to riches stories; t the superstar-styled heroes; young heroines; assistants who try to prove their worth; talented side stars who dream to adorn the crown; producers who fund the movie’s powers; coordinating the sounds, lights, costumes, stunts, dialogues, make-up, dances and sets; relationships and friendships in a restricted circle … Nico Raposo illuminates this murky entertainment sector. The gated community has been exposed with the same josh and ambiguity that envelopes the movie arena today.

Weaving crime into the Bollywood theme, and situating the book in Mumbai along with its vindictive underworld, the author crafts two novels with an eye for detailed surroundings and strong character sketches. Shoot the Peacock and Shoot the Crow are the first two books of the “Bollywood Knights” series with a school going protagonist. Strange attacks on the female lead, fire in the studios, another actress who goes missing, underworld dons and hoax assaults that seep into the tightly guarded association create a terrible impact on mindset, emotions, schedules and budgets.

Young detectives

Son of Bollywood’s big man Amit Kapoor, Raj and his two friends, Nagi and Madhuri, embark on a risky operations to save the rest of the film fraternity! A watchful father, a dedicated housemaid and several well-wishers are the pillars of their strength. Before the media can get their hooks into the situation, without going to the police and handling a very inquisitive private investigation agency, the teen trio snoop, brain-storm and earn themselves the *detectives’ tag in the movie industry.  Every character has a strong personality. The atmosphere, backgrounds and ambience seem fairly real. A well planned plot, crisp dialogue and a witty humour add the final touches. Both the books make good, light reading with stories delivered by a passionate teller of tales.

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