Welcome Justine Elyot, smut writer extraordinaire and all round lovely lady to Friends Friday today. We’re in for a Bollywood treat!
A Passage to Bollywood
I’ve always had an eye for a good-looking man of South Asian heritage, so it wasn’t exactly difficult to dream up a swoonworthy man (or two) for my story Bollywood Superstar.
For a start, here are some of the men I’ve admired in the past.
When Dr Fred Fonseca (Jimi Mistry) took over the Albert Square surgery in EastEnders he made a startling and very welcome change from outgoing medic Dr Legg. He went on to be even more doe-eyed and gorgeous in East Is East.
Naveen Andrews caught my eye in the TV adaptation of Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia, long before getting Lost.
The EastEnders connection again – pretty, pretty Ash Ferreira (Raji James). Especially when he was wearing his specs.
But this was the one who inspired the character of Krishnan. He’s a boring character now (and I no longer watch Coronation Street anyway) but when Dev first came into the show, I was captivated. Especially when he had that one night fling with Deirdre! OMG! He was a raffish, laconic playboy, but he worked hard in his grocery shop when he wasn’t schmoozing in nightclubs. He also had this deadpan, dry humour that just disappeared from later episodes – and I’ve given that to Krishnan as well.
Meet Krishnan and judge for yourself in this extract from Bollywood Superstar:
“So where’s Sunya?” he asked, lugging a boxful of packet rice from the store-room. “You’ll need to get going soon, won’t you? What time’s the audition?”
“We have to be there at three. But I’m going alone. Sunya’s ill. I’ll just have to get the train.”
Krishnan unbent his spine, drawing himself to his full impressive height, jabbing a long finger at his assistant.
“Like that? You’re taking the train to Nottingham dressed like something out of the pages of the Kama Sutra? Oh no, Jas, I don’t think so.”
Jas stared at Krishnan, his presumption provoking conflicting emotions of indignation and excitement.
“What’s it to you?”
“If I’m going to be your big brother, I should act like one. You can’t have it both ways.”
“Krishnan, I’m going to this audition, and you aren’t going to stop me.”
“No. But I’m driving you there.”
He put a hand on her shoulder, steering her towards the door and fishing for his mobile phone at the same time.
“What about the shop?” She watched him change the sign from ‘Open’ in six languages to ‘Closed’.
“I’ll call Ashok. He can cover until we get back. I’ll just have to close up until he gets here.”
“There’s really no need, I canâ€•”
“No, you can’t.” He pointed a key ring, eliciting a bleep from a sleek silver car parked across the street. “Come on.”
What Krishnan missed out on in terms of the playboy lifestyle, he made up for with its accoutrements. His car was an expensive sports model, upholstered in luxury fabrics with a top-of-the-range entertainment system on the dash. Jasmine had been in it before, but she never tired of the smell of wealth once the doors were closed – an aroma she rarely encountered in her life.
Krishnan sniffed the air as the key turned in the ignition and the engine started up its moneyed purr.
“What’s that perfume you’re wearing? Or rather, it’s wearing you. I might have to open the windows.”
“It’s cold,” complained Jas as the glass buzzed down an inch, letting in brisk October air.
“Maybe you could consider wearing something then,” came Krishnan’s unsympathetic reply.
“I am wearing something.” Jas looked down, rather guiltily, at her bare midriff with its delicate gold chains looping from her pierced navel.
“Barely,” he muttered, turning left on to Belgrave Road.
“You don’t think I should be a Bollywood star, do you?”
Krishnan sighed heavily. “Better than being a footballer’s wife, I suppose.”
“It’s nothing like being a footballer’s wife! Do you see them as being on a par?”
“Isn’t it all about the shiny things and the adulation?”
“No! Maybe for the footballer’s wives…but to be a Bollywood star you have to work really hard. You know how many years I’ve been doing Bollywood dance classes! You know the hours I put in.”
“I know you are talented and you work hard, yes. I just think these dreams of riches and fame and all that are a bit…silly.”
“But you dream of riches. Why else would you slave away from six till ten every day of the week?”
“When I get my riches, Jas, I’ll know I’ve earned them.”
“Krish!” She wanted to grab his wrist in that chunky gold watch and wrench it from the steering wheel, force him to listen properly to her, to give her some respect. But that would be a bit dangerous, so she didn’t.
“Besides,” said Krishnan, obviously feeling he’d gone too far and needed to do something to silence the angry rattle of Jasmine’s bangles. “Who will make the mango lassis if you go to Mumbai?”
“I’ll leave you my secret recipe,” said Jas, marginally mollified.
“I hope you do. Those are my biggest earner. The best lassis in town. Half of Leicester will go into mourning if they can’t buy them any more.”
Jasmine folded her goose-pimpling arms and hugged herself as they left the urban streets behind and headed for the open countryside.
Looking sideways at Krishnan, she wondered what he was thinking. His lazy-lidded eyes rarely gave anything away. What did he really think of her? It was true they were different personalities, but so were Kareena and her co-star Shahid in Jab We Met.
Oh, what did it matter? It wasn’t Krishnan’s attention she needed to hook now. It was Ajay Amir’s. Bollywood’s premier heart-throb, the go-to guy for any role requiring a bare-chested scene, the man whose severe and beautiful profile had gazed down at her from her bedroom wall since she first started watching the movies.
A fab Friday thank you to Victoria for letting me drool over fit men on her blog today – thank you all for reading too.