Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Garbage Beat - Richa Lakhera

Garbage Beat is a story of a tv journalist Laila who covers movies and fashion for a tv channel EMTV - two areas that brim with sex and scandal. Author Richa Lakhera is a tv journo herself and it might not be too far off the mark to say that it is autobiographical. But only to the extent that the reader gets a hazy idea of the way the world of the super cool tv journos functions - and little else. It is one breathless ride that hops from one event to another and we end not knowing anything about Laila at all. I did not. After sometime, you don't really want to either, which is a pity because at the end when she is thinking about a baby etc she does sound human and normal and you soften a bit. But frankly my dear, it is too late by then.

Perhaps written as a breezy tale that takes an irreverent shot at all the goings on in Bollywood and in the world of fashion, it does end up sounding like a Madhur Bhandarkar movie after a while, with one liners fling quick and fast passing judgement on the characters involved. Madhur Bhandarkars characters do that - the bunch of drivers who discuss their bosses and their sex lives and such other people who pass their judgements and opinions - and Richa uses that a lot in every chapter almost to pass judgement on the scandalous person - which does not help at all. It could have done with some more care, some more 'showing' and developing of the scandals so that they do what they should which is scandalise. As for the scandals they disappoint because it all sounds like we have heard it before (I am sure we have). I wish Richa had really created some scandals that would have knocked us off but she chooses to be in the safe area and rehashes existing scandals with different names.

Laila is generally running pillar to post with various cameramen. She has a bunch of colleagues who use profanities comfortably and I never figured out who they were except that one becomes a sexy item girl, one wants to commit suicide and some more. Some stars, some scandals and that's it. The story moves from one incident being covered to another. There is no real plot. I never felt that Laila and her boyfriend might marry or that they were sharing anything intimate so it was rather nice when it comes down to some real feelings. But like I said, it comes too late.

Richa could do well to really go the whole hog if she wants to shock and scandalise the reader, or she should stick to the feeling part, which she seems to be perfectly capable of doing. She can write surely, and perhaps better than most, but I felt this was a hurried attempt that suffered because it was not conceptualised with some more clarity. I would have given it more feeling, more passion, instead of breezing through it like a diary of events. I breezed through it as a reader in the quickest time ever because it is a breezy read. Would I recommend it? Not really. Which is a bit sad, because I think they had enough raw material that got squandered. 

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