The Romance of Bollywood

The Romance of Bollywood
A unique brand of ethnic fiction

by Shobhan Bantwal - author of The Full Moon Bride

As a teenager growing up in a rural town in India, going to the theater to see Bollywood movies was the stuff of impatient sighs and sheer excitement. With no other source of entertainment like television, dating or dancing, my friends and I could hardly wait for the next movie to come to town.

We had a handful of tiny, musty theaters, with uncomfortable seats, and no more than one or two ceiling fans to cool off a couple of hundred sweaty bodies. The peanut vendor and the candy shop were enticements along the periphery, but we rarely had money left to indulge in such sinful treats after purchasing a single precious movie ticket. Besides, what was a handful of peanuts or a sweet lump of sugar when a great movie was about to dazzle us.

Love blossomed on the screen between two unlikely people while a host of conflicts made it impossible for them to be together. The end could be happy or sad, leaving us smiling or shedding tears. Nonetheless, the drama was pure entertainment.

Much later in life, when I took up fiction writing, I decided to recapture that magic of Bollywood. With my stories of tenacious women and strong men who live by the dictates of a conservative culture yet manage to find romance and love in their own way, I have created a unique subgenre of ethnic fiction while introducing Bollywood to a non-Indian audience.

My novels are brimming with vibrant colors, hot spices, the travails of arranged marriage, taboo love, and controversial topics like dowry, caste, and female-fetus abortion. Realizing that no other Indian author wrote Bollywood-in-a-book type tales specifically for American and European audiences, I took up the challenge of writing them myself. To some extent I have succeeded in giving my readers a taste of Indian culture peppered with drama.

They say a writer should write what she knows. To that end I have followed my early love of Bollywood movies to write what I know—that a social issue, if made into an interesting story, can not only entertain but also educate and broaden the readers' horizons.

Readers can find my books, events, contests, photos, recipes, and contact information on my website: or visit my facebook page:


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