Meet Merry Farmer, she lives in suburban Philadelphia, but was obviously Indian in her last many births. She loves Bollywood & is working towards becoming an becoming an internationally certified cricket scorer (No, really!) Here she talks about how Bollywood has inspired her latest novel, Our Little Secrets.
Okay, what do Bollywood films and Medieval Romance novels have in common? That was the first question that popped to mind when Laxmi invited me to do a guest post on her blog. On the one hand, I love Bollywood. I’ve been watching Bollywood films for years. I’ve also been studying medieval history for years. Other than the fact that I love them both, what ties these two fabulous things together?
My love of Bollywood comes straight out of the larger-than-life feeling of the stories and romances it portrays. When a man and a woman fall in love in Hindi they don’t just fall in love. They sigh! They sing! They dance as though their hearts are breaking! They do it with so much color and emotion that you can’t help but be carried away with them. I sometimes feel as though westerners think this is silly. But sometimes love is silly. It’s also wonderful and all-consuming. We in the west might like to pretend that we’re more sensible about these things, but how can you be sensible in the face of emotions that make your heart burst with song?
In the Middle Ages people knew how to love the way they do in Bollywood. The High Middle Ages especially was a time of heroism, adventure, and above all, love. The idea of Courtly Love, that a brave and gallant knight could love a lady, sometimes from afar, sometimes from very close indeed, ruled the day. The great stories of the High Middle Ages were epic love stories. We still celebrate those stories today. The tragic love triangle between King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and Guinevere was one of the most fashionable and loved stories of the time. The story of Tristan and Isolde was just as celebrated.
The similarity between Bollywood and the Middle Ages doesn’t end there though. In Bollywood you find heroes who fight fiercely and love passionately. The same is true of the knights of the Middle Ages who served their king or fought for what they believed in during the crusades. I can’t help but think that Veer in Veer-Zaara would be just as much at home donning armor and fighting his way through the battlefields of Europe to prove his love. In the same way I could see Sir Lancelot drinking himself to death over the loss of his love, just like Devdas. The same kind of passion drove Medieval heroes as drives those in Bollywood.
I’ve tried to capture some of the essence of what I love so much about Bollywood in my Noble Hearts trilogy. There’s more than a little bit of Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam in the first book of the series, The Loyal Heart. I’d explain, but then I’d be spoiling the story. The same themes of sacrifice for a higher cause that I’ve seen in dozens of Bollywood movies are in The Faithful Heart. And The Courageous Heart ends the trilogy with a story of redemption that any Bollywood hero would be proud of.
So really, the line between Bollywood and Medieval Romance is a thin one.. Both show the world in bright colors and strong emotions. And both provide endless hours of entertainment to those of us with sentimental hearts.
Merry Farmer is an award-winning novelist who lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats, Butterfly and Torpedo. She has been writing since she was ten years old and realized one day that she didn’t have to wait for the teacher to assign a creative writing project to write something. It was the best day of her life. She then went on to earn not one but two degrees in History so that she would always having something to write about. Today she is a giant History nerd and a hopeless romantic waiting for her own love story to start. Her first book, The Loyal Heart, is a swashbuckling Medieval Historical Romance involving a love triangle that will keep you guessing. Both The Loyal Heart and its sequels, The Faithful Heart and The Courageous Heart, are available wherever eBooks are sold. She has also begun a new Western Historical Romance series set in Montana in 1895. The first of that series, Our Little Secrets, is now available. The second, Fool for Love, will be released in early 2013. Merry is also passionate about blogging, knitting, and cricket and is working towards becoming an internationally certified cricket scorer.