Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Adventures that interest and inspire - 'Made in India' by Biddu (Book Review)


Made In India - Adventures of a Lifetime
BIDDU


The cover of 'Made in India' by Biddu has the author playing a guitar. His hair is enjoying the music as much as he is, it seems.
And the hair is integral to the persona and performance, mind you. You will understand when you read the book.

'Made in India' is the story of musician Biddu, his adventurous journey from Bangalore (unlike the happening Bengaluru of today) to the happening streets of London and beyond.

I will not even try to bracket Biddu's 'Made in India' in a single category.

'Made in India' is a rags to riches story. Not literally so, but it seems like it.

'Made in India' in an inspirational book. It is an exciting reading Biddu's life story as he struggles but never whines.
"...this is the road I had chosen, so I wasn't looking for sympathy, just a massive hit record."

Biddu writes about impossible dreams. The kind of 'impossible' that says 'I am possible'...
"When you are young, failure is not an option. It is not even on your horizon. There are no barriers, cynicism or disillusionment to assault and peel away your confidence and prevent you from reaching your Holy Grail, because youth gives you the freedom to fly close to the sun."

'Made in India' is also about family and love. With family in India it was bound to, I guess.
"Friends will disappear like dried-up leaves in a gust of wind. Only the family will be there for you."

It is also documentation of the world in general and India in particular of 50s and 60s.
"...perhaps it was a period in time when the world was less in turmoil and more at peace with itself, or people just had time for one another."

'Made in India' is a story of discovering self. It is about life coming full circle in a broad sense of the phrase.
"I am a citizen of the world, but inside, truly deep inside, I am still made in India."

Biddu's 'Made in India' is crash course about the music industry. The author explains about the world of making music, but he consciously doesn't let it go into too much of detail. He keeps the information reigned and interesting, and thus never boring.
"In music business there are no friends, only opportunities."
"...nothing's fair in love, war and the music business. Fair is just a state of complexion."

Above all, 'Made in India' is about passion. Passion that survives the many obstacles that life throws in the way.
"...music was my mistress and forever I would dance to her tune."

The Preface of 'Made in India' starts with "What propels someone to write an autobiography?" The author then goes on to list the three reasons why one would choose to write about oneself.
This is especially interesting to me because this is what I ponder over whenever I read an autobiography. Why would someone choose to write about one's life?
As Biddu begins his autobiography with the reasons to write one, he does it so well that I am tempted to copy his concise analysis here verbatim. On second thought, it would be better if it is read in the book :)

The idea for this book originated when the author would narrate anectodes of his life. The tone of the book is such that it feels as if the reader is listening to these anectodal tales. The adventures (exciting, foolish, disheartening, funny, innocent and much more) make for an engrossing read. The book reads as if one is listening to these experiences being narrated.

Biddu claims that he was coerced into writing this book. Well, if he was, thanks to those who advised him and 'forced' him to write this book. It is a story that deserved telling. It is a book I am happy I read.

Other inspiring, interesting and quotable quotes from Biddu's 'Made in India' -
  • It ws Shakespeare who said, 'Enough, no more, 'tis not so sweet as it was before'. And if I may add my own two cents worth: 'Tis best to go while you'll be missed, don't hang around lest they get miffed.
  • A month is forever when you're a prisoner in your own mind.
  • Bereavement, I realized, was a topic of conversation in India, just like the weather was to the people in Britain.
  • ...in India, time in inconsequential. A date is just an aproximation and tomorrow can mean any day in the near future.
  • Freedom means not having to look behind your back every fifteen minutes.
  • I had been led to believe that all English people spoke with the cultured tones of the presenters of BBC World Service... In truth, when I came to London I found there were more accents in this little island than there were flies in India.
  • They say youth is wasted on the young. That isn't so. It may only be appreciated by the old, but youth has that ability to bounce off the floor, dust oneself, and carry on like never before.
  • Royalties were a musician's insurance against penury in old age.
One advice that the author got, which I am going to take to heart - "Keep writing. You'll only get better."

Biddu's 'Made in India' is the story of an adventurous, passionate life and makes for a wonderful, engrossing read.


The text in italics are quotes from the book.
Thanks to the b00k r3vi3w tours for sending a copy of the book to me in exchange for writing an honest review.


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Giveaway Details:
-        1 Gift Voucher : $10 Amazon GV or INR 500 Flipkart GV (Winner’s Choice)
-        1 Signed copy of Curse of the Godman by Biddu
-        Paperback copy of Made in India by Biddu


a Rafflecopter giveaway



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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 cafe 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 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 "Kung 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.
In this first public account of all that came his way: the people, the events, the music tours and companies Biddu writes with a gripping sense of humor about his remarkable journey with its fairy tale ending. Charming, witty, and entirely likable, Biddu is a man you are going to enjoy getting to know.



About the Author


Biddu was born in India, where he started his career playing in a pop band whose influences lay in the classic repertoire of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Following his early success, he decided to hear West and move into the international music arena. He struck gold, signing the unknown Carl Douglas and producing "Kung Fu Fighting?" which went on to become a hit all over the world. He also wrote and produced hits for Tina Charles and soul legend Jimmy James.

Around this time, Biddu became involved in Indian music: he composed the cult "Aap Jaise Koi" for the film Qurbani which set a new landmark for sales in India He followed this up with a pop album, Disco Deewane, with Nazia Hassan, which became the largest selling pop album in Asian history, and was the first Indian album to hit the charts in fourteen countries. In 1995, Biddu wrote and produced the three-million-selling album Made in India with the singer Alisha Chinai. To date, Biddu has sold over thirty-eight million records worldwide.


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An Excerpt


I was greeted by an army in White: almost 400 men draped in white robes and with shaven heads; some had beads in their hands, mouthing silent prayers, parading on the deck like holy warriors awaiting god or his nemesis. They were pilgrims on their way to Hajj. I looked at them, stunned into a momentary silence. The visual was dramatic and surreal, like egg-white stalagmites against an endless blue sky on a bobbing ocean. They, in return, observed me with subtle confusion. A cowboy hat, boots, a guitar and hair like a woman’s. What kind of apparition was this? The devil incarnate? I felt as welcome as swine flu.

I walked nervously through the multitude as they peacefully parted to receive this newcomer, and made my way to the sleeping quarters below deck. I thought it best to pick out my cabin and unpack my meagre belongings and set my territory; hang up my guitar and hat on a hook, close the door behind me, kick off my boots and relax. I walked down the stairs and came across a miniature stadium of row upon row of wooden slatted slabs. Most of them had bedrolls unfurled over them. I looked around. There were no cabins in sight. It dawned on me these were my sleeping quarters. It was another jaw-dropping moment.

‘Okay,’ I thought, ‘I can handle this. But first, the bathrooms.’

I must tell you I have a thing about bathrooms. Call it a fetish, but they must be pristine, clean and modern. So I strolled towards the toilet zone and peeked through the swing doors. There were six Indian-style squat-on-your-haunches-type toilets. I shuddered at the sight of these unseemly hole-in-the-ground jobs. I noticed six sinks for washing and shaving. Four hundred of us were to share these facilities. My heart sank into my ankles. I would fight them in the trenches, I would fight them on the shore, but I could not fight them in the rush to an Indian-style kazi.

I sat on a wooden slab for a while, thinking up Plan B. Suddenly I felt a jolt as the boat came to life. I could hear the drone of an engine and the ungainly movement as the vessel lurched forward clumsily and we were on our way. This I could not miss. So I scrambled back up, onto the deck and looked at the city I was leaving behind. It was nearing sunset and against a blood-red sky, the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Hotel steadily decreased in size as our boat cut through the frothy dark-emerald waters of the open sea. I stood there clutching my rucksack, that little suitcase full of dreams, till the shoreline disappeared.

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Giveaway Details:
-        1 Gift Voucher : $10 Amazon GV or INR 500 Flipkart GV (Winner’s Choice)
-        1 Signed copy of Curse of the Godman by Biddu
-        Paperback copy of Made in India by Biddu











a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 comments:

  1. Great review, it can't get better

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Alok, thanks a lot for the perfect comment. You know that it can't get any better :)

      Delete
  2. Nice and thorough review. Must make an interesting read. The quotes from the book are good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Somali. I love writing thorough reviews with quotes although they take a long time to write. It is easier to write for the books that I love reading and I did love this book...

      Delete

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