Reviews /

My Bollywood Dream

Authored by Avani Dwivedi
Illustrated by Avani Dwivedi
Published by Walker Books Ltd

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It’s Friday night and we’re off to the Mumbai Movies with our main character and her family. They journey through the streets and, with her camera in hand, the little girl captures the vivid and evocative people and places they see along the way. The sights and sounds illustrated through the pages perfectly capture the bustle and business of the Mumbai streets. Street vendors, a proud police-uncle, auto-rickshaws, scooters and cars fill the pages in a busy and colourful display.

As well as the atmospheric street scenes we see the imaginings of our main character as she creates her own Bollywood blockbuster. Real-life places, such as the Bandra-Worli bridge, become part of her journey, and her imagined film screenplay. Upon arrival at the cinema the posters and backdrops set the scene and we are even invited to imagine the smell of the popping popcorn and spicy samosas.

Once inside the cinema hall we are treated to double pages spreads providing the reader with a detailed visual description of the people both watching the film and those being portrayed on it. From the families and couples excitedly waiting for the film to start, to the hero and heroine staring in the film we can easily imagine what it feels to be there, to experience the excitement of the movie and enjoy the energy of the performances. This energy is extended to the filmgoers, who dance and move along with to the Bollywood tune. The story ends with our female protagonist leaving the movie with stories of her own in mind and ambitions of a future in creating and directing Bollywood films of the future.

The story is rich and bold and full of life and energy. The authenticity of the people, places, language and culture runs throughout the pages. Hindi text and phrases are used throughout and streets signs and shop fronts feel real and authentic. The author’s childhood memories provide the inspiration for this colourful, creative and empowering story. Readers will be able to experience and gain insight and an understanding of the rich cultural diversity of the streets of Mumbai.

I would recommend this as a class read throughout KS1 & KS2, particularly where children and teachers are interested in exploring topics such as India or Hindu life and culture.

Longlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2024