Scene 75 by Poonam Saxena

Category: Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers India

A no-holds-barred expose of the Hindi film industry’s sordid underbelly. Ali Amjad comes from Benares to make it as a scriptwriter in Bombay, only to experience the absurd and tragic reality behind the film world’s glamour as he navigates through it with his fellow strugglers. A short, fascinating novel set in the Bombay of the 1970s, Rahi Masoom Raza’s Scene: 75 is a crazy kaleidoscope of stories within stories populated by a cast of extraordinary and memorable – but also cynical and manipulative – characters, from struggling directors and wealthy lesbians to film-obsessed social climbers and sleazy producers. In this irreverent, surreal, deeply satirical and darkly humorous work, the author’s biting prose takes an unflinching look at both Hindu-Muslim and class relations, as well as at how human ties corrode and wither because of ambition and self-interest. Superbly translated by Poonam Saxena, this lost classic from Rahi Masoom Raza rips off the tinsel curtain that hides the film industry’s hypocrisy, insecurity and desperation for success. It is a novel that will delight and disturb in equal measure

The author: Poonam Saxena