Book Review: A Place In My Heart by Anupama Chopra

A Place in My Heart is a many-splendored thing. It is a listicle. It is a celebration of the power of storytelling. It is also an account of a life lived in the Bollywood trenches. National Award-winning author, journalist and film critic Anupama Chopra writes about fifty films, artistes and events that have left an indelible impression on her and shaped her twenty-five-year-long career. Shah Rukh Khan is here. So are Super Deluxe and the Cannes Film Festival. A Place in My Heart is a blend of recommendations and remembrances, nostalgia and narratives. It is a smorgasbord of cinematic delights, written, as Marie Kondo would say, to ‘spark joy.’ Above all, it is a testament to Chopra’s enduring love for all things cinema. 

Just as I love writing book reviews, I love reading and watching movie reviews. And one of my favorite Indian film critic is Anupama Chopra. I’ve followed her for years now and absolutely adore her for the joy she finds in watching movies, how she fangirls at some of the same things I do (we love you SRK) and how well she writes. So when I saw that she was coming up with a book that was sort of her memoir but through the eyes of cinema, I knew I had to read it. And I’m so happy I did.

This is like a collection of essays or blog posts, each chapter either about a film or artist or documentary or just something very important about Bollywood. And despite her including a few of her favorite South Indian movies, this book is quintessentially Bollywood. And I adored it. I love how she both captured the brilliance of movies or actors in her review style, but also gave larger context about her association with the said movie and artist. It’s a perfect read for someone who loves Bollywood movies and stars, old and new, and would love to reminisce about some of their favorites. She also includes some iconic lines and song lyrics from the movies she is talking about, so you definitely need to know Hindi to understand them, but also maybe know their significance to appreciate them. As I had watched most of them and loved the stars she was talking about, this book just felt like indulging in nostalgia. Naturally, I loved the chapters about K3G, KHNH, Chak De, Karan Johar, Adi Chopra, Diljit Dosanjh, her experiences at MAMI and Cannes, and many many more.

In the end, this was exactly the book I needed in the moment. Anuji might have decided to write this book before the pandemic began, but it’s an apt book for the circumstances, if we wanna relax and refresh some good memories when we are feeling down. I’ve not been in a good headspace for a week or so, so this was rejuvenating and made me happy. If you love Bollywood and it’s glitz and glamor, you’ll enjoy this. But if you are looking for recommendations, you’ll have to be careful because the book is chock full of spoilers.

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