Kishwar Desai



In the late nineteenth century, in a small village in northern India, a thirteen-year-old Brahmin widow meets a Muslim sarangi player and elopes with him. Many years later, their daughter Jaddanbai moves to Bombay and becomes a star of the early talkies. Chateau Marine, her home on Marine Drive, is famous for its evening mehfils and for the dreams it nurtures: regular visitors include Dilip Kumar, Mehboob and Kamal Amrohi. It is also the home of Fatima, Jaddanbai's daughter, who will set the screen ablaze as Nargis, the most accomplished actress of her time.

Far removed from this world of glamour, a young boy named Balraj Dutt spends his teenage years attempting to rehabilitate himself and his family after the trauma of Partition. In 1950, at the age of twenty, he arrives in Bombay. And there his life takes an unexpected turn: he is given the lead role in a new film, and is soon on his way to becoming Sunil Dutt, the film star.Then comes the moment that transforms both their lives: on 1 March 1957, during the making of Mother India, Nargis is trapped in a circle of flames and Sunil risks his life to save her. They recuperate together, and fall in love. Nargis has been in a long but futile relationship with the mercurial Raj Kapoor, and in Sunil she finally finds an anchor.

Their relationship is stormy and secretive to start with, but it survives every crisis to culminate in a quite wedding on 11 March 1958. What follows are years of togetherness, including the joys of caring three children, Sanjay, Namrata and Priya but also days of pain and heartbreak: financuial trouble, Nargis's illness, Sanjay's addiction to drugs.

Based on the diaries and letters of Nargis, Sunil and their daughter Priya, as well as on conversations and interviews with family and friends, Darlingji - as they often addressed each other - is a probing yet affectionate biography of two extraordinary people and their love for each other. Travelling as it does from the nineteenth century to the present, the book tells the larger story of the evolution of Hindi cinema, and of a society and a nation in the throes of change.

What will you learn from this book

  1. Historical Context: The book likely provides insights into the historical context of India during a specific period, offering readers a deeper understanding of the societal and political dynamics.

  2. Social Issues: Kishwar Desai's novels often touch upon social issues. "Darlingji" may address various societal challenges and shed light on the author's perspective on these issues.

  3. Cultural Exploration: Expect a cultural exploration of India, with the book possibly delving into traditions, customs, and the evolving cultural landscape.

  4. Character Dynamics: Character development is crucial in novels. "Darlingji" likely introduces readers to a range of characters with distinct personalities and explores their relationships.

  5. Feminist Themes: Kishwar Desai is known for incorporating feminist themes into her work. The book may discuss women's roles, challenges, and achievements within the societal context.

  6. Political Commentary: Given the socio-political nature of the novel, it may include commentary on political events and their impact on the lives of individuals.

  7. Mystery and Intrigue: Desai's novels often contain elements of mystery or intrigue. "Darlingji" may have a compelling plot that keeps readers engaged.

  8. Colonial Legacy: If the book is set during or after the colonial period, it might explore the lingering effects of colonialism on Indian society and identity.

  9. Narrative Style: The way the story is told, including the narrative style and structure, may contribute to the overall reading experience.

  10. Reflection on Change: The novel may prompt readers to reflect on how India has changed over time, both in terms of progress and the challenges it faces.

Language English
ISBN-10 9788172236977
ISBN-13 9788172236977
No of pages 442
Font Size Medium
Book Publisher HARPER UK
Published Date 25 Oct 2007

About Author

Author : Kishwar Desai

1 Books

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