By Richa Lakhera. Grade B
“Hands off my f*****g newscutter, you son of a b****, or I will chop your b***s off!”
Did Laila really say that? Not in her wildest dreams, not until sometime ago…
Laila is on the entertainment beat – a world full of vain heroines, egoistic superstars, spirited item girls, prissy celebs. To top it all, life in the newsroom is a series of deadline-driven bloopers.
Adding to the mayhem is the sexy Bollywood journo-turned-item girl Latika; Chiki, the reporter who is obsessed with a superstar; award-winning super hack Indumati; and their razor-sharp and hard-to-please editor Bunny.
Caught between her ambition to excel, a live-in boyfriend who feels ignored, and a father who is ashamed of her career choice, Laila realizes that the life of an entertainment reporter is not the glamour ride she had expected. Because, on the Garbage Beat, reporting is a harrowing, ball-crushing, back-breaking affair.
What happens when you see one of those TV shows which divulge straight into the life of superstars? Do you feel like knowing more about the good, the bad and the ugly? Do you want to be the one uncovering the scams and covering hi-fi events live? And if so, how the hell would you manage to convince your orthodox parents to accept your career choice as an entertainment journalist, instead of fulfilling their dream by becoming an engineer, doctor, or a C.A.?
Well, then you got to meet Laila, our protagonist who is exactly that. Having landed in her dream job as an entertainment journalist after working her ass off for years, she finally gets her own show, ‘Filmy Masti.’ Laila, who wants to leave a mark in the field she is SO passionate about, realizes that life as an entertainment journalist is not as glamorous, beautiful and exciting as she had thought it would be. Life seems to be tough for Laila. She is desperately seeking approval from her father regarding her career choice, and not being able to spend sufficient time with her boyfriend, Rehan because of work commitments seems to be bad enough. But to top off the cake with some icing, her boss Bunny constantly reminds her that there is a long queue of girls waiting to take her job. Only the daily dose of ‘adrenalin rush’ to complete a news item and present it keeps her going.
Does Laila eventually garner the approval of her family? Does she lose out on the love of her life? Is the “harrowing, ball-crushing, back-breaking affair” actually worth it? This is what forms the rest of the story.
Garbage Beat is a fun fast-paced read about the life of an entertainment journalist in full form. The author has managed to capture the true essence of the television industry; it is a scandalous journey into the world of television journalism. The author’s experience in the world of entertainment has probably helped her include nuances which made the book just that much more authentic. Every character in the book – Bunny, Chikki, Rehan, Latika – has been clearly defined, with each having an important role to play in Laila’s life. The book is hilarious at certain places.
If you are comfortable reading conversations leaking with abusive language, and internal conspiracies brewing here and there and everywhere, you would enjoy reading the book. But I suppose that is how the world of media actually is. Although I did not improve the author’s opening gambit of jumping right in the middle of action with a lot of technical jargon, perhaps thinking the reader would be just as fluent with the lingo, for those looking to enter the world of journalism, Garbage Beat would be extremely helpful to understand how your dream world actually works.