Kitnay Aadmi thay is like a wet dream for any Bollywood movies trivia collector. It has little structure and even lesser logic, but that’s all the more reason why it is so much fun in the first place – just like our own Hindi movies. Of course, the book is not for every literature lover but then when you can guess a Bollywood fan taste. So the narrative pretty much takes you through the last 60 odd years of movies, filling with nuggets which are hard to ignore or resist.
What was the name of the film they were shooting in Rangeela? What was the Amul hoarding when Shahenshah released? Who has the longest-winning streak in Filmfare awards? Did Johnny Walker get his name from the whiskey or was it the other way round? Who will star in Bajirao Mastani when it finally gets made?
The book gives factual, entirely useless and mostly unknown information of Bollywood. Most of this information will be not new for hard core movie buffs, but when compiled in a chapter form with examples thrown in from over 60 years of watching movies, it is unbridled joy. Lists like Shortest and longest names of movies, movies within movies, favourite or most famous filmi pets are weird, yet reconfirms the fact why we love watching movies in the first place - to have fun. To garner interest. To live again.
There are sections for the portrayal of Parsis, Punjabis, the South Indians and the Bengalis in Bollywood movies which i immensely enjoyed in the book. There is another section for regional actors who made in big in Bollywood, and those that didn’t, followed by the lists of actors who came up on their own without filmi-backgrounds and then there are star kids who made it big and those that didn’t. You can read about the influence of a myriad of fields on Bollywood in another section and that's when you start feeling the method in the madness of this book.
You will still come across situations where you'll feel some of the lists are incomplete and that's my only concern.Having read the book, the only question which remains unsolved is how to keep the book updated in the future editions. The author does not intend to do so and insist that the readers themselves will keep adding to it. It may be a novel idea to keep the readers interested but in my view it needs to be in sync with times. That's probably the only way out to keep the book fresh and in mind of readers.
I am going with 3.5/5 for Diptakirti Chaudhari's 'Kitnay Aadmi Thay'. Read it to enjoy the fun, mad ride of Bollywood. There is a studious feel to the whole book but if you are a big Bollywood fan like me, it is highly unlikely you will be bored for a minute. As they say, let the picture begin!
Amusing book filled with all kinds of Bollywood trivia (for e.g.: How many movies did Amitabh Bachchan enact the role of a Sardarji?). Bollywood along with Cricket is an integral part of our lives (much as we hate to admit it) and this book (pretty similar to the Book of Lists) is filled with unusual trivia on Bollywood. Interesting / amusing / junk data to tickle our funny bone....thru this also discovered an interesting blog writer..Diptakirti Choudhari (calcuttachromosome is the blog/website) who seems to be having a lot of fun writing about cricket and Bollywood. I made the mistake of reading it in one go on a long flight...don't do that. Buy it...read it leisurely over a couple of weeks...so that the useless trivia sinks in well...and you remember most of the funny anecdotes / lists and can show off in the next cocktail do...imagine in a boring company party ( are any company parties interesting?), go up to one of your boring colleagues and suddenly ask him "Who else was considered for Gabbar Singh's role....and why did he reject it"....it will stump the other guy and also provide you the much needed entertainment.( if you want the answer for the above two profound questions...buy the book and read it !) If you are the high brow type ( who only discusses Fellini / Coppola and Goddard because it goes with your image - or the image you want to cultivate), read the book still but don't tell anyone that you read the book and still spew the wisdom from it...and if you are a name dropper...tell them that Amitabh Bachchan personally told you how many times he acted as a Surd or Ramesh Sippy who is your drinking buddy told you who else was considered for Gabbar Singh's role... Thoroughly enjoyable book....improves your Bollywood IQ (mostly useless) by leaps and bounds. PS: This is an unpaid review. I don't know the author ( but would love to know him !) and have heard of him first time when I saw the book in the airport last Friday and bought it.....and one last question from the book : Name at least 5 movies where Parsi characters were the protagonists? 16. Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic