Each one of us is here because there is no other place in the world that we d rather be ... Lights! Camera! Action! Meet Nacchamathu, an engineering graduate who would rather be a member of the Rajnikant Fan Club than work in an MNC; Vinod, a middle-aged movie extra who, after fifteen years in films, still dreams of speaking his first line on-screen; Srimati, a headmistress and grandmother of four, who is desperate to be in films even if it is as an extra.
A random survey at Mumbai Central railway station on any given Sunday reveals at least ten people who have come to Bollywood from places as far-flung as Haridwar and Gorakhpur, Moradabad and Meerut. But for every Shah Rukh Khan who makes it, thousands of others are damned to a degrading life of abuse and exploitation. What is it that drives these people to give up friends and family, well-established careers and financial security, for a shot at stardom?
Why is it that in spite of all the contempt and insults they are subjected to, they would still rather be in films than anywhere else? Roopa Swaminathan answers these questions in Star Dust: Vignettes from the Fringes of the Film Industry. This incisive and fascinating account of life in the shadows of the arc lights takes a look at the people fans, extras, dancers, technicians and assistants who, despite being an integral part of film-making, more often than not remain on the fringes of the magical world of cinema.
Author : Roopa Swaminathan
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