"Bollywood Extras" is a bold exercise in literary post-modernism and has been described as a bit like Vladimir Nabokov's "Lolita" (1955) meets Nathanael West's "Day of the Locust" (1939). Unlike those two classics, however, this new novel by Dr D. Bruno Starrs is set in 21st Century India's Hindi-language film industry epicenter otherwise known as 'Bollywood', Mumbai's answer to America's 'Hollywood'.
And there is another major difference: the story-line of "Bollywood Extras" (i.e. the tense, narrative interaction between an American 'extras' casting agent, 'Dr Arden Pyle', an under-age wannabe Bollywood starlet, 'Chandy', and the despicable but wealthy Indian man who stalks her, 'Ishmail'), is all staged against a backdrop of rabid religious terrorism: the 2008 Islamic terrorist attacks on Mumbai, which have been described as "India's 9/11".
Written with the uniquely black, comedic and literary flair Dr D. Bruno Starrs is renown for, this, his third full-length novel, boldly captures the feel of Mumbai and the small-time players in its big-time film industry, with style, humor and originality.
Tom Flood, winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award and founder of Flood Manuscripts, said this of the novel's second last draft:
"What is best about 'Bollywood Extras' will likely be its albatross in the sliced bread world of mainstream publishing. Three strengths that make the work what it is - the length, the style, the intellectual capital - will be three strikes against it when it comes to the money. While I delight in rich language and agile invention, I've given you the reasons the trade ('legit') presses won't take 'Bollywood Extras'. Do I think you should change it? No. I like it. Why ruin an interesting work for money?"
As a professional assessor, Tom Flood did, of course, offer many suggestions and these were duly implemented, although the author steadfastly adhered to the style he had already cemented, thus not changing in anyway what Flood refers to as its three strengths. And with this 'Thumbs Up' from the best manuscript assessor in Australia, the author knew that Bollywood Extras was ready to be birthed. So, here it is: Dr Starrs has delivered his third baby and 'christened' it "Bollywood Extras"!
- Dr D. Bruno Starrs, September 2012
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