In Memory: Bollyviewer

In the years since I first began this blog in 2008, I have written many tributes to many film personalities. A few, a mere handful, saddened me enough to make me feel I had lost someone especially dear to me personally.

Never had I thought a day would come when I would need to (yes, I do need to, for my own self) write a tribute to a fellow blogger. Bollyviewer, who meant much more to me than just a fellow blogger.

When I first began blogging, it was because of the encouragement of Greta, at memsaabstory. After I wrote my first few posts, Greta mentioned me on one of her posts, in an attempt to let people know about me. Some did wish me luck, some said they’d come and read my blog—but only one person came immediately to check out my latest blog post and to comment on it. That was bollyviewer, and she continued, unfailingly, to comment on each post I wrote.

Those of you who are bloggers will probably understand what I mean when I say how grateful I was to her. In those initial days, when it seemed as if I was the only one reading my on posts, she was there. Always commenting. And her comments were fun, interesting, useful comments, not vague faffing about how good my post was. If it hadn’t been for her encouragement, Dustedoff might have died a quick, silent death.

That fun, that interest, was an intrinsic part of bollywviewer’s blog too. Her screenshots were never just screenshots; they always came with witty captions that cracked me up, every single time.

Caption copyright: Bollyviewer

She and I shared a lot of views in common, including a lot of favourite films, favourite actors, favourite music directors and singers. Her reviews of films, her song lists, her articles (I remember one especially brilliant one on unscientific elements in Hindi cinema, another on the types of mothers in Hindi cinema) were always well-researched, very well-written, and highly readable. Occasionally, as in this list of Naina songs, she, Anu and I teamed up to do themed posts.

And she was a wonderful person. When I first got to know her, she lived in Canada, but soon after, between jobs, she came to stay with her parents in India, and we met several times over the space of a few months. We lunched together, we had coffee, we had long chats. Bollyviewer’s warmth, her sense of humour and her genuineness struck me: she was such a lovely person.

Bollyviewer passed away on February 12th, 2021, after a painful struggle with cancer. I had not heard from her for several months, and by the time I realized that she was seriously ill, it was too late. I will always regret not having written more often, not having checked up on her more often. And I will miss her.

RIP, bollyviewer. The world is a poorer place without you.

(For those who want to see bollyviewer’s blog, here it is. Unfortunately, this is a more recent blog—she shifted her blogging platform a few years back, so most of her blog posts were on the earlier blog, now defunct).

44 thoughts on “In Memory: Bollyviewer

  1. I’m so sad to hear this. I enjoyed her blog, especially the old one which had more posts on it. Though I wasn’t introduced to Indian cinema by the internet, blogs really played a huge part in helping me discover new things and form my own taste, and hers was one I could trust with regard to reviews. I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Thank you. I think blogs like hers and Greta’s helped me learn a lot about Hindi cinema, too – Greta because she managed to ferret out so many obscure films and write about them, Bollyviewer because she was always so entertaining and fun to read. I agree with you about being able to trust her with regard to reviews – I realized soon enough that if Bollyviewer said a film was worth watching, that was a good recommendation.

    • Yes, it’s such sad news. :-( I didn’t know she was unwell till a couple of months back too, when she wrote and told me in passing. Even then, she didn’t say just how bad it was, so this came as a real shock.

  2. Dear Madhu,

    Re: “In Memory:Bollyviewer”

    Was deeply moved at what you have written…
    And am saddened to know that a dear friend has
    gone, too soon..

    It is difficult for me to find the words that would lessen the grief and deep sense of loss that you must be going through.
    You did say that she had been diagnosed with cancer, and had a painful struggle with it…
    To know that she is free from suffering, is but small comfort.
    In time to come, it will be all the good memories of your friend that will endure..

    Praba Mahajan

    • Yes, that her suffering is over is certainly a consolation. Anu, who had met her more recently, was telling me about how much pain she was in, and both of us agreed that for nothing else but the fact that she is now free of that pain, we must be grateful. And grateful too for the joy she brought us during her lifetime.

      Thank you for the condolences, Praba.

  3. That’s so sad Madhuji. I have read a few of her posts and I didn’t know she wasn’t in good health. Her posts used to be very good.

    “Those of you who are bloggers will probably understand what I mean when I say how grateful I was to her”
    I can perfectly understand.

    May God give you strength to withstand the loss.
    May her soul rest in peace.

    • Dear all,

      I had myself not read Bollyviewer’s posts.
      My loss, most certainly.

      Here is a LINK that I happened to “find” on the net.
      Am not sure how safe / secure the site is.
      (There is a “warning” given…).

      For those interested in her earlier blog-posts,
      …best seen on the browser, I suppose.

      Praba Mahajan

      http://bollyviewer-oldisgold.blogspot.com/

      • Thank you so much for finding her old blog, Praba! This is a real treasure trove. I had a look, that ‘warning’ seems to be just standard, it’s perfectly safe.

        Thank you again, I need to bookmark this. She was a superb blogger.

    • Thank you, Anupji. In this case, the loss was definitely personal too, because she was not just a fellow blogger but a good friend too. I still find it so hard to believe she’s no more.

  4. This is indeed very sad news.
    Please do convey my condolences to her parents, for whom to lose a dear daughter like this must be heart-breaking to say the least.

    The blogging days were so nice and during those days I used to regularly visit her blog. Even now, I used to visit ehr blog, if I wanted to read up the synopsis of a film or the other and even during umpteenth reading her articles are as fresh as new.
    In person too (thanks to you, dear Madhu, I was lucky to meet her) she had her subtle yet sharp sense of humour.

    The film blog world is poorer without her.

    Fly dear bollyviewer.
    You will be entertaining the angels now.

    • That’s a very sweet tribute in that comment, Harvey! Yes, indeed, “Fly, dear bollyviewer. You will be entertaining the angels now.” And possibly meeting up with all those people you were a fan of.

      Ava and I were discussing yesterday that day when all of us wandered round Safdarjang’s Tomb and Lodhi Gardens and had lunch at Khan Market… happy days.

      • Those were indeed very happy and beautiful days. Yesterday, Ava and I were going through all photos of those days and reliving the moments and thinking of bollyviewer. She lives in our memories.
        Thank you dear Madhu for organising that meet, otherwise I’d never have had the opportunity to meet her. Bless you.

        • I must look through those photos again too. I remember that day very vividly, though, it is one of my happiest memories for which I have my blog to be grateful for, eventually! It was so good to meet all of you.

    • Big hug, Anu. Remember how you’d once suggested that someday if I come visiting you, we could invite her over as well and watch a movie together? I remembered that today, and began crying. :-(

  5. Madhu, I wanted to say a few more things here, although we talked a little when I saw this very sad news from you on Facebook.

    Your story above about how Bollyviewer started commenting on your blog so early and in such interesting and informative ways pretty much echoes my own. The first one to help me get into our Hindi film blogging community was Sitaji (Suzy) from Bollywood Food club, with whom I was exchanging comments since the fall of 2007. But my blog was a little scattered in the early days and did not become truly focused on classic Indian films until the spring of 2008. And almost as soon as that happened, Bollyviewer started offering comments. Searching my comments a little, I see that she started in May of 2008 (so with me, she preceded Greta :) ). Then by August of 2008, she was there very frequently, always offering helpful information and suggestions about what else to look for and where to look on the Internet. Her comments certainly played a role in my education about Hindi films, as did her blog, which I always enjoyed.

    I do only know her through our blogs and comments (I never had a chance to chat with her otherwise), but I certainly can agree with Harvey’s comment above that the film blog world will be poorer without her.

    RIP, Bollyviewer.

    • So both you and I have reason to be grateful to her for reading our blogs, Richard. I do know for a fact that if it hadn’t been for her in the early days of my blogging, I’d probably not have persevered. She was also the only one, for a long time, who used to comment on the Hollywood films I’d review.

      Yes, the blog world is definitely a poorer place without her. Even though she’d been too busy (and possibly too ill, I guess) to blog regularly over the past few years, there was always a hope that she would return and post more. It’s tragic, that she’s gone and we will never read another funny, insightful, balanced review from her again.

  6. Shocking & sad news !!!
    Although I did not write as many posts as compared to some others here; Bollyviewer did comment encouragingly on one of my early posts, and continued to comment in her unique & funny style.
    Her pieces were always informative & well-written, moreover, they were extremely funny & innovative.
    Nothing much different to add that has not already been said by others, a great loss !!!
    Please convey our sincere condolences to her family.

    • Very true, Samir. Her pieces always well informative and well-written, besides being innovative. I was thinking just this morning that it needed a lot of wit and creativity to think up all those delightful captions she always added in her posts to enliven them. I would never have been able to sustain that.

      RIP, bollyviewer. You were a class apart.

  7. Sad news indeed.
    If she has inspired you to carry on with the blog that itself is a job well done. I have honestly not read too many of her posts but as you pointed out her comments here were marked by quick wit and great grasp about cinema.
    It would be a greater loss for you knowing her better! your piece was touching and came straight from the heart.
    As you grow older your attitude towards death keeps on changing and for an atheist I am still grappling how to make sense of it.

    • True, one’s attitude towards death changes as one grows older, and I guess if one does not believe in a life after death (any sort of life, whether in an incarnation or whatever), that can translate into an absolute full stop. I’ve been a Christian all my life, but frankly, over the past year or so, my belief has been shaken considerably.

      In this case, given that she was in so much pain, it was I guess a release. But to know that she is gone, that one will never read one of her blog posts again – that makes me selfishly sad.

  8. very sad and shocking to hear..
    i read only few blogs, urs, roughinhere, memsaabstory, anu’s, bollyviewer. these blog were in the internet very very long ago..

    • It was a great effort, but then I felt I had to do something to remember her. She was not just a fellow blogger, but a friend as well, and one I had met several times. A wonderful person.

  9. Madhu,
    Though I was not a regular visitor to her blog, whenever I did through you or Anu, it was a delightful experience. One has to be gifted to write like that, we all wish to have a sense of humour like hers. I feel sad that the life of such a talented person should be snapped prematurely. My deepest condolences to the family.
    AK

  10. This is sad … Have not read much of her writing, but will do.

    Hats off Bollyviewer , for bringing joy and Hindi films to so many people..

    Stay Filmi, wherever you are …

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