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Being famous

Adventures in Bollywood

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Shoot the Peacock Shoot the Crow By Nico Raposo Penguin Best Price: Rs 173 each at shopping. indiatimes. com

It is not easy being famous. This could be the watch-phrase for the writer, or his main hero. Nico Raposo grew up as the son of well-known Portuguese-American musician Joseph Guilherme (Joe) Raposo and followed the family path - of a "long line of storytellers, musicians and entertainers" - to become a writer of all things entertaining. He has written 15 screenplays for feature films, three books, seven plays and more television plays than he remembers, along the way collecting two Emmy nominations and more awards and acclaim than can be easily counted. And his family has helped him find a new direction, with signposts pointing to the land he has called "the most exciting place on earth", India. An Indian sister-in-law and an extended family in this country have given him a taste for India, Mumbai and Bollywood and he travels to the sub-continent often and learns more about B-town showbiz with every trip.

That awareness and knowledge shows in his just-released books, Shoot the Peacock and Shoot the Crow, both Bollywood Knights adventures, the first two of a series, he promises. Aimed at young adults, they are an easy read, juvenile but genreappropriate and absorbing. There are glimpses of the Bollywood that any reader of the gossip press will recognise instantly, from the on-set chaos to the paparazzi stampedes at the very hint of a celebrity's arrival, at a movie premiere or a hospital. And the names are also Bollywoodian, perhaps paying tribute to the cine-world the author is fascinated by.

The main hero, young Raj Kapoor, son of superstar and filmmaker Amit Kapoor, and his friends Nagi and his sister Madhuri, children of super-successful starlet Navi (Navneetha Swamy), are thrown willy-nilly into a thrilling mystery that spins them through attempted murder, death, kidnapping, dark villainy, fire and suspense. Add to that a group of baddies with no faces, only chillingly scary voices, near-death experiences and a toughlady security agent, all with a filmi tadka to make it spicier and both books are fun, readable, even credible.

In Shoot the Peacock, Raj, Nagi and Madhuri, ably assisted by the driver Adib, Raj's father's right-hand-man Mitul and a cast of assorted others sort things out after gorgeous starlet Preety Shabbir is almost killed doing a stunt during a shoot. In Shoot the Crow, the same gang of good guys has to find superstar Ameeta, who has taken off from her luxury apartment to find her younger sister in the seamy underbelly of Mumbai. Can the Bollywood Knights solve the mystery and keep themselves alive, if not unscathed? It's worth finding out!

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