Sunday, March 2, 2014

Book Review: Supertraits of Superstars by Priyanka Sinha Jha

Bollywood... a factory manufacturing dreams written on celluloid. A place were stars come down to earth every Friday. Bollywood of Legends, Kings, Queens and Emperors of entertainment. Every day several persons throughout the world reach Mumbai in pursuit of their silver screen dreams. Very few of them make it into the film making industry. A tiny fraction of them develop themselves into faces recognized by public. Out of them some are destined to see their names written in golden letters in the pages of cinematic history. Supertraits of Superstars is an effort by journalist Priyanka Sinha Jha to uncover the secrets behind the unparalleled success stories of some of these distinguished celebrities.

 In this book Priyanka Sinha Jha showcases eleven celebrities of Hindi movie industry, each of them possessing enormous star power. All of them have ultimately achieved phenomenal success, and on their way to top or even when they are right there have survived several downfalls, failures and criticism which can turn fatal for the careers of lesser men. The writer scrutinize each of these stories and tries to arrive at certain traits these individual personalities has in them which enable them to survive the grind and to endure the long race to the pinnacle. She uses her long career as a film journalist and her access to celebrities to her advantage for writing this book.

 The book dedicate one chapter each for a star, with a nice and funny caricature at the start of the chapter that in most of the cases sums up the qualities of the person described. There are plenty of relevant motivational quotes embedded in the book at the starting of the chapter and of every subtopics in it. Quotes from celebrities themselves are given enlarged and boxed. In the end of each chapter there is a boxed summary that lists the traits that makes the superstar distinct from peers. With a colorful cover design and its retro look, Supertraits of Superstars is sure to grab eyeballs in bookshops.

 Main plus point of this book is its readability. Its light and humorous prose makes sure that the reader has difficulty to put it down. The content is relatable to any common man as it deals with movies, a passion that most of the Indians share. This helps the motivational aspect of the book too. Because generally we like to adore and worship our heroes and an endorsement from them goes a long way. It also helps that she has discussed about their short comings and how they valiantly overcame them.

 Speaking of minuses, I feel the book never give the reader anything new or even mildly surprising. Every traits that the writer elaborates on is already established in connection with these stars. After all who doesn't know of the punctuality of Amitabh, Shahrukh's passion, Aamir's perfectionism or Salman's generosity..! She never go beyond that. I feel Vidya Balan's and John Abraham's chapters were quite interesting in this regards. Also a representation of someone from non commercial cinema, who are superstars in their own rights, would be a welcome change. Inclusion of a Naseerudin Shah, Irrfan Khan or Nawazuddin Siddiqui could have spiced up things a bit.

 As a light read and for some quick dose of motivation Supertraits of Superstars is recommended. The moral that I learned is that, though success is obtained with talent, inorder to sustain it severe adherence to some basic principles is a must.

The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.

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