If you write a book about a big movie star, it seems reasonable on the part of the reader to expect to read something about the star himself, his life, and in his own words also. Despite the title of the book, 'Looking for the Big B...' you don't really expect to plod through 200 pages or so of mediocre, plodding prose, before you get to anything worthwhile. Even then the information is unoriginal, unilluminating, and nothing that has not already been written, over and over again.
It is really difficult to identify any positives from this book. There is the novelty of reading about the fascination that a young British girl has with Amitabh Bachchan, but that too fades after the first few pages. A lot of profanity seems a desperate attempt at appearing 'cool', and a description of the grime, pollution, poverty read too stale and cliched to elicit any interest.
We do get to know that the author has been to Mumbai (Bombay) innumerable times, that she has ingested enough lead, thanks to the pollution, to double her body weight, that beggars and filth infest the city, that she has been to the Al Burj Dubai, to the IIFA awards in Malaysia, has had many dinners with Amitabh, seen him sleeping next to him (on a plane), and knows a smattering of Hindi.
We also get to read about a lot of other stars, but their mention is only used as a prop to inform us that the author knows these stars - Manisha Koirala, Rani Mukherjee, Aamir Khan (whom it turns out she got to know more than closely), etc...
She writes about her travails in getting an interview with Rekha, but nothing beyond that. Or her interview with Shobha De, ex-editor of a gossip magazine 'Stardust', which only informs us that Ms De has nothing useful or interesting to say.
Perhaps the only insightful and touching nugget comes from her interview with Prakash Mehra, Bollywood director, who gave Amitabh his first big, commercially successful break with Zanjeer.
As a belated background, for those uninformed of Amitabh Bachchan, also referred as 'Big B' (and hence the title of the book) and the "Angry Young Man", he is the biggest superstar the Hindi movie industry has seen (though the likes of Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar too enjoy a huge fan following), and somewhat of a model for dozens of actors, stars, superstars, and star wannabes, that have followed him. The phenomenon of Amitabh Bachchan has also lasted very, very long, starting with his blockbusters in the 1970s (Zanjeer, Deewar, Sholay, Kabhi Kabhie), continuing in the 1980s (Namak Halaal, Shakti, Laawaris), faltering in the 1990s (with hits like Agneepath, Hum, Khuda Gawah, and such duds as Lal Baadshah), and resurging in the millennium (Mohabbatein, Aankhen, Khakee, Sarkar).
Peruse these alternatives:
To be or not to be: Amitabh Bachchan
Sholay: The Making of a Classic
Bachchanalia The Films & Memorabilia of Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan: The Legend