Madhur Bhandarkar’s Chandni Bar triggered interest in many, including Devasis, the author of ‘ Without Prejudice”. It intrigued him and surrounded him with several questions about this world shrouded in Omerta. The novel unravels the mystery of the dance bar world, the making of a dance-bar girl through the life of the protagonist, Munia.
The dance bars were the part of Mumbai’s thriving nightlife. The author Devasis has done in-depth research and has portrayed the dance bars from pre-independence era to current avatar. He has given attention to the tiniest detail. He has revealed that marriage is a taboo for these dancers in their communities. The narrative is crisp and has many turns. Language and dialogues are life-like and natural.
The author allows the heroin to have a matured sense of awareness and ask questions like why their communities are maligned for having had more than one sexual partner, but the urban socialites, who do so willingly, aren’t categorized in the same light. The story does not have a romantic happy ending in a conventional sense but looks at a better future. This is a story of a journey beautifully sketched which explores and makes one think through the social traditions and the prejudices prevalent in our society.