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Could this be the next Bollywood blockbuster?

Last updated on: December 27, 2013 09:38 IST

Could this be the next Bollywood blockbuster?

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Filmmaker Neeraj Pandey, who has given us brilliant films like A Wednesday and Special 26, has now penned his first novel -- an underworld thriller called Ghalib Danger.

The story revolves around a taxi driver Kamran Khan, whose life changes when he saves the life of a don called Mirza.

In gratitude, Mirza takes Kamran under his wing and makes him the mafia boss.

Kamran also inherits Mirza's philosophy that all of life's problems can be solved through Ghalib's poetry. Here's an excerpt from the book.

‘I want you to come to Liberty Cinema tomorrow at noon.’

‘You want us to see Phool aur Kaante with you?’

‘No, that’s running houseful and is at the Super Cinema. We are going to see Lamhe.’

‘But that is a flop.’

‘Precisely. I need a quieter place.’

‘Chikne, you are either an idiot or a genius.’

‘Depends on which you like more.’

Salma and Reshma broke into laughter. Kamran stood there fixed to the ground as they started walking away from him. Salma kept turning and looking at him all through the walk down the causeway.

Khuda ke vaaste parda na kaabe se uthaa zaalim
Kaheen aisa na ho yaan bhi wahi kaafir sanam nikle
Kahaan maikhaane ka darwaaza Ghalib aur kahaan vaaiz
Par itna jaantay hain kal voh jaata thaa ke ham nikle

Excerpted from Ghalib Danger by Neeraj Pandey, published by Blue Salt, an imprint of Penguin India, with the publisher's permission, Rs 250.

Buy the book here.


Image: Cover of the book Ghalib Danger by Neeraj Pandey


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The next day Kamran and two burqa-clad women entered the balcony section of Liberty Cinema to watch Lamhe. They took the corner seats in the house. The seats were divided though. Reshma was seated alone in a row. Kamran and Salma were seated in the row right behind her.

‘Did you sleep well, Salma?’

‘No. I just kept thinking about you. You?’

‘I just kept dreaming about you’

‘What have you thought about us?’

‘I am still thinking.’

As Anil Kapoor’s character in the movie Lamhe got more and more baffled about his feelings for the younger Sridevi, Salma became more and more sure about her feelings for Kamran.

Some time in the second half of the film Kamran asked Salma, ‘Do you like me, Salma?’

Salma put her head on his shoulder.

‘You know what the problem with this film is?’

‘What?’

‘They are so bloody confused about their feelings.’

‘I am also confused about us, Kamran.’

‘That, my love, is the problem.’

‘How do we solve it?’

‘You can begin by admitting what your heart says.’

Another song started and ended.

‘I think I love you, Kamran.’

‘You think?’

‘Yes. I think.’

‘I will live with it for the moment.’

***


Photographs: Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh

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Film financier and producer Surinder Sharma had been stalling his payments for a long time and the news reached Kamran. Kamran was sitting in his cabin when Babloo came in.

‘Bhai, that Surinder Sharma has been stalling for the last four weeks. He disconnects our calls, bhai.’

‘Where is he right now?’

‘At the studio, bhai.’

‘We have someone there on the floor?’

‘Chote is there, bhai.’

‘Get Chote to call me.’

Chote from Qasimgarh had arrive din Bombay about a year ago to join Kamran. In that one year, Chote had fallen in love with Hindi movies. He used to watch a film every day. The ones he liked he watched again and again. Chote had a Funai VCP and a wonderful collection of movies. His favourite was Sholay. In moments of extreme pressure, Chote would imagine himself f in a thriller movie.

Someone relayed the message to him and he called up Kamran.

‘Haan, bhai…’

‘Chote! Is Sharma there on the floor?’

‘Yes, bhai. He is on the floor.’

‘What’s his status right now?’

Chote filled him in on the details and Kamran listened to him very carefully.

‘You carrying a piece?’

‘Yes, bhai.’

‘Look at your watch. Three minutes from now I want you to fire a shot in the air right there on the studio floor.’

‘Okay, bhai.’


Photographs: Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh

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Kamran hung up and ordered, ‘Give me Sharma.’

Babloo dialled a number and gave the receiver to Kamran. A peon picked up the phone.

'Hellooo...’

‘Give the phone to Sharmaji. Tell him it’s Danger calling on behalf of Mirzasaab and if he asks you to lie tell him that you won’t because then not only am I going to come there and talk to him but I will also have a nice little chat with you.’

There was silence and Kamran heard the sound of the receiver being kept down. Kamran looked at his watch. Sharma wanted to stall again but on hearing the threat proceeded to take the call.

‘Hello, Danger bhai...’

‘Hello, seth.’

‘What seth, Danger bhai? I am so stuck with this production, what do I say? It has already gone over budget. I needed fifty dancers for this song today but the heroine is dancing alone on the set. The caterer didn’t send the food today, bhai, and the lightmen didn’t turn up because I could not pay them last week. There are no lights on the set today, bhai. I don’t even know if what we are shooting is going to get exposed. Please have patience na, Danger bhai.’

‘Seth, I want you to listen to something.’

‘What?’

‘Sssshhh...’

Kamran was looking at his watch and Sharma was wondering what was happening.

Chote looked at his watch. The three minutes were up. Chote took out his gun and fired a shot in the air. A stunned silence followed and everything went silent. Sharma’s heart skipped a beat and his pulse doubled.

‘Did you hear that, seth?’

‘Y-y-y-y... yes.’

‘That was me. Don’t lie to me because I am right next to you, seth. I know that you took delivery of your brand-new white Mercedes yesterday. I know that there are seventy-five dancers dancing with your heroine on your et today. There are foreigners also in there. The food is excellent and so is the lighting. There is Diwali on your set, seth, so do not bullshit me.’

‘S-s-s... s-s-sorry, Danger bhai.’

‘Now there are three things that I want you to do, seth.’

‘I am listening, danger bhai.’

‘Firstly, keep two crore ready by tomorrow. Babloo will call you and tell you how we will collect it. Secondly, once the copy of your film is ready send a print to us. We will need it for piracy.’

Sharma was too shocked to react.

‘And, bhai?’

‘And.’

‘You said three things, Danger bhai...’

‘Oh yes. Thirdly, seth, I want some tips on how to invest in this movie business. I quite like it.’


Photographs: Illustrations by Uttam Ghosh

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