Anjali Kirpalani’s Tinsel Town Affair is a light and breezy read and a coming-of-age novel. It is crisp at 166 pages and filled with introspective laugh-aloud moments.
The protagonist is Meghna, a 26-year-old who comes to Mumbai to fulfil her dream of becoming an actress. Her days are filled with auditions and involve walking up and down casting offices in the hope of becoming the next big Bollywood star.
Meghna isn’t your quintessential came-to-Mumbai-by-train and slept-on-the-pavement kind of struggler. Her parents fund her life in Mumbai, and she is financially well off. However, since she doesn’t have contacts, she faces rejection after rejection. Her parents issue an ultimatum of a year; she has to return to Chandigarh if she can’t land a role.
The clock is ticking as she tries her hand at one gig after the other, with consequences that are hilarious and disastrous in equal measure. A reality show, a stage drama, a fashion stylist internship- Meghna tries her hand at them all. Any person who has creative aspirations will find her internal monologues very relatable.
Meghna’s biggest cheerleaders are her friends Nakul and Shivi, who are with her in Mumbai to support her, though they unintentionally do more damage at times. Meghna also meets the handsome and suave casting director, Kabir, the type of person her parents warned her to stay away from for fear of the casting couch.
The love story felt a tad rushed. Perhaps a little more length to the story would have rounded off Meghna’s personal and professional growth better.
This novel captures the pulse of Tinsel Town- the glamour, the glitz, the gossip, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is a refreshing take on the struggles of an artiste, their friendships, success, failure, and self-discovery. The standout in this book is the humour; it isn’t stereotypical and is genuinely funny and refreshing. This book can be read in one day and in one go.