I just finished reading “Show Business” by Dr. Shashi Tharoor. This is the second book by Dr.Tharoor that I am reading (the first being The Great Indian Novel) since he won the Elections in a victory that put landslides to shame, and became the Minister of State for External Affairs. In fact, if one reads the tweets(@shashitharoor) that his 20-thousand+ (and increasing) followers send him daily, I believe his books are selling at a much faster pace than ever before, since he left the UN (he was the former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations) and appeared in the Indian Political scenario prior to this year’s Elections to the Parliament.
Show Business is a story that circles around the Indian Film capital of Mumbai and the Indian Political capital of New Delhi. I am sure I don’t sound kind to the author when I say that his days at the UN seem to have been quite unstressful, yielding him plenty of free time, because he has had time to study, research and write intensely about the world of Bollywood and of Political India, much before he became an active participant in the matters of State. I do read his tweets once in a while (I am one of his 20thou+ followers), and they reiterate that he does not have any time for himself after becoming a Minister, let alone for reading, researching and writing. Surely no books can spring from his mind right now, or do I underestimate him? Let us wait and see.
The book is much lengthier than I would have liked it to be, to the extent of becoming quite a drag at places, especially where he details an entire movie (about six movies in the entire book – Imagine!). The author has squeezed in his opinion of a lot of topics into the book, ranging from Mahabharata to Michelangelo to Swiss accounts to dharma to cricket.
It is a different read from The Great Indian Novel, which, though it did have its share of comedy, was made of more sterner and deeper stuff. Show Business is comedy itself, mocking at politics, films, people, things and everything that the author comes across in his narration.