A Very Strange Man: A Novel

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Women Unlimited, Jan 1, 2007 - Urdu fiction - 231 pages
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This novel set in the Bombay Film World of the 1940s and 50s is the riveting story of Dharam Dev the famous actor director and producer and his all consuming and doomed passion for Zarina Jamal the young dancer from Madras whom he brings to Bombay and transforms into a great actress. He looks on in anguish as his betrayed wife Mangala a well-known playback singer sinks slowly into alcoholism. When Zarina abandons him he is overwrought and dies of an overdose friendless and alone. In an interview for the Journal Mehfil in 1972 Ismat Chughtai described this novel about the Bombay Film Industry as based on the life of a film producer who committed suicide after the dancer whom he had made into a big star left him in the lurch. This is not only a close personal look at an actor's rise to fame and glory but an insightful and critical examination of the Bombay film scene of the time by one who knew it at first hand. This irreverent sharply observed narrative is Vintage Chughtai.

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