Book Review – Trust Me

Trust Me

by Rajashree,

Rupa, Rs 95

Filmi Fundas

Trust Me by Rajashree is a typical film-narrative – an action-cut of love, lust, deceit and romance. By Deeya Nayar-Nambiar

Life in a metro has never been easy for a newcomer. Dreams and aspirations are unlimited but in their pursuit one often slips from reality. Trust Me by Rajashree is a book of emotions and situations that many individuals get caught in. Woven together are the characters in a clear plot that flows with the situation. The concept of “trust” runs right through the plot with the characters defining and redefining the term.

Written in a typical Hindi filmi style, Rajashree’s characters easily remind one of the actors performing for the screen. The first person narrative goes on to evolve, making every small situation appear important. As the story unwinds, a reader can predict what will happen next after the ‘cut’. Indeed, the reader can visualise everything from the perspective of the lead character from a small town.

Parvati, a young girl, comes to Mumbai from Amravati to become a set designer after convincing her widowed mother and saving from her scholarship. After three months of waiting she finds herself with an advertising firm. Gradually she picks on the city’s way of life. Her brush with reality begins at the ad film company and continues to the film industry.

Unrequited love, heartbreak, an abortion, a bad boss, resignation, a new job and a fresh lease of life, the 22-year-old learns her lesson. The point to ponder is, “One good thing about Bombay is that one can always lose oneself in crowd.” She moves on undeterred, older and smarter, but still not having a control over her heart. Her job as an assistant director of a film gives her a real taste of life behind the camera.

Director Jambuwant, ‘Jumbo’ as he likes to be addressed, the struggling actor Rahul who tries to woo her, the debutant actor Mrignayani, blotted egos of the industrywallahs, unsystematic working patterns, the casting couch, statements like “subzi made by two women never tastes exactly the same as is with Hindi films” will appear familiar to movie buffs. Also to make the plot and character’s realistic, Rajashree uses explicit language in which slang and four-letter words abound.

Paro, as Parvati is fondly called, represents many such women who are yearning to make it big. The story, like a set in Film City, appears as picture-book depiction right from its colourful cover. Its filmy depiction morphs into real life situation. As Rahul says, “People do speak melodramatically in real life too.” The plot is entertaining but predictable and pedestrian. Yet, the complexity and indecisiveness of women, philandering, lust vs. love, “it’s a man’s world”, everything is given equal weightage. Meant as a light read, Trust Me is enjoyable with little drama and no suspense.

Rajashree is innovative in adapting a film-narrative into a novel. Her debut novel is truly a reflection of her love for Hindi cinema as well as an insider’s view being a film director. Rajashree, who is a National Award winner for her short film Rebel (1996), says, “I always want to try to figure out the rebellious side of my lead character but at the same time I feel films and books should work as emotional healers, like Munnabhai did recently.”

Published in BTW, Chitralekha Group, August 2007

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