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Made In India Hardcover – 19 Jan 2010
Hardcover, 19 Jan 2010
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As a child, Biddu dreamt of going West and making it big as a composer. At the age of sixteen, he formed a band and started playing in a in Bangalore, his home town. At eighteen, he was part of a popular act at Trinca's, a nightclub in Calcutta devoted to food wine and music. At nineteen, he had college students in a Bombay dancing to his music. In his early twenties, he left the country and ended up hitchhiking across the Middle East before arriving in London with only the clothes on his back and his trusty guitar. What followed were years of hardship and struggle but also great music and gathering fame. From the nine-million-selling Knng Fu Fighting to the iconic youth anthem of Made in India and the numerous hits in between, Biddu's music made him a household name in India and elsewhere.
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When any Indian older than twenty-five hears Made in India by Alisha Chinai, all they can think of is the iconic song which defined the wants and wishes of an entire generation and went one to become a cult anthem. But there is so much more to the person behind the song, and it is only now, after reading this book am I beginning to really understand the scope of his greatness.
The book is the story of Biddu’s journey from a simple life in India to a fairytale ending in UK. But as with all fairytales, it is filled with hardships and trials. I particularly liked reading about his travels through the Middle East, and it makes me compare the relatively simple world of the 60s to the complexities and pains of that region today. What was also interesting for me, was to notice the common thread which runs to most biographies, and that is about these important moments in life where the decisions are life-changing and end up making you who you are.
Biddu has a way of making the simplest of stories amazingly interesting. Each incident drips through with humour which may not be laugh-out-loud, but would definitely put a smile on your face. Biddu’s writing style, which is filled with classic British humour made me breeze through the book. The way the story is told is so personal, that I felt as if I was sitting alongside the star himself, and was hearing him recount tales from his life. Biddu has a new life-long fan, of both his music and his books.
The book has left me inspired. It makes me think about my own journey, limited though it is still. It has made me believe in the importance of hard work and perseverance. I personally now want to know about what happened after Made in India (the album). I want to know more about Biddu the performer, Biddu the writer and today’s Biddu. I can imagine sitting across the table from him, and he entertaining us with not just his music but also his humour.
Nonetheless, when I began reading Made in India ~ Adventures of a Lifetime, I could not help but be drawn in the witty narrative. After awhile you feel that you've known this music composer for life, and he's letting into the dark side of success - the struggle. People notice you when you've made something of yourself. They never tend to see the process of you slowly climbing the ladder of success - and that was precisely the part Biddu wanted to show his loyal fans/readers.
Much of his stories are centered in Bombay and Kolkata, and I being a resident of the latter, and in somewhat of an awe of the former, was very interested to know what life was like and what those cities were like in the 60s. Being born at a time when taking up offbeat career paths was a rare thing, it is not surprising how hard he had to work to become the person he is today.
I especially hold in high esteem anyone who does not take the run-of-the-mill career path, but dares to follow their dreams. And Biddu chasing his dreams in London with only three pounds takes the cherry on top of the cake!
Read this book if you want to know what caused this man to introduce India to IndiPop music, and how he did it. It's always good to know even if the road ahead is not easy, the journey is always memorable.
The book is written from school days where Biddu and his friend bunked their school to reach UK for the music, after two failed attempt they succeeded in his third attempt to perform in Hyderabad and from their very interesting journey begins.
I felt this book is very inspiring, because an ordinary boy who starts a music band with his friend, they first performs in Hyderabad, from then to Kolkatta, came to Mumbai, in Mumbai played in Ambassador and Astoria Hotel. Then Biddu started as a solo in the name of Lone Trojan. Biddu wanted to go UK, but his money and passport were stolen by an unscrupulous travel agent, so he started another time with new identity. The new agent gives him a cargo ship ticket to Basra. Biddu got off the boat at Basra, and then he hitchhiked his way from Basra to England. For six months he travelled through Iraq, Bahrain, Dubai, Syria and Lebanon. This is one of the best part of the book where he survived with meager or no money. He sang for food and shelter, also he was very fortunate that wherever he went people supported thought his travelling.
In last chapter he mentioned why he has given the title of the book as Made in India, its given because of his best selling album in India where he composed for Alesha Chinai, also Biddu says that no matter wherever he is in the world he still loves his motherland India.
I always love to read biographies, autobiographies; these are the books where you find how the person survived at the time of adversity. I highly recommend this book, it’s an excellent read.
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I am surprised Biddu makes no mention of another India-origin man who was making bigger waves in England at the time, i.e., Farrokh Bomi Balsara - a.k.a Freddie Mercury of the rock band Queen! Anyway, coming back to the book, which I could hardly put down once I sank my teeth in to it; it held my total attention till two-thirds in to the book when Biddu has reached fame and fortune and a gora blonde wife to boot. After that the book seems to take a more predictable turn and ends in a whimper. Nevertheless, I have the both the "Blue-Eyed Soul" and the "Disco Diwane" albums in my collection. Only now I finally know exactly how they were made!
I found several incidents in the book very hilarious starting with the time when Biddu realizes that instead of London he has been booked for Basra!!! Also, haggling with the Greek sailors to sell him their guitar, and playing soft latin-american love songs in Beirut to a crowd of Arab men out for the evening with mistresses less than half their age! But the pivotal and dramatic moment, in this autobiography, is one that takes place in Paris, France - and this you will have to read the book to find out! Oh! BTW, you will learn something about the Ayatollah Khomeini too inside Biddu's book MADE IN INDIA: Adventures of a Lifetime! The book tells it like it was.