Anybody having doubts if men could love as intensely as women should read Vikram Bhatt’s A Handful of Sunshine. An intense love story from a male perspective, the book could give many romance novels a run for their money. It’s love at first sight for Mira and Veer—expectedly very Bollywood names from an author who is also a Bollywood filmmaker—but their love story is cut short by a tragedy that changes their lives. Eight years later, they meet again, and even though Mira is happily married, rekindle their love.
The Bollywood influences can’t be ignored. Modern-day London, rich heiress to a business empire, a yuppy adman, a best friend who knows you inside out, a too-good-to-be-true husband, the girlfriend with a heart of gold… The predictability in the story is as easy. When a character is described in glowing terms right at the onset of the book, you know what the tragedy indicated on the back cover will be. The author doesn’t disappoint either.
However, what saves the book from being just another one in its genre is the climax, which does not yield to the Bollywood recipe, but takes a leaf from life that is real and pragmatic. Bhatt has confessed in his interviews that love has always been elusive for him, and has brought him nothing but pain. This is reflected in the book, as the protagonist Veer loses his love not once, but twice. In balance, the book is a breezy, pleasant read.