We're very pleased to welcome author Shobhan Bantwal to popculturedivas! Shobhan is hanging out today to chat about her latest release THE SARI SHOP WIDOW (Kensington Publishing – Sept 2009) & share her love of Bollywood films!

Take it away Shobhan...

Several years ago, as a teenager growing up in India, I was addicted to Bollywood movies. Bollywood is the term for Bombay Hollywood and it has provided loads of inspiration and fodder for my stories. My books are romantic women’s fiction bubbling with high emotion, drama, and lots of cultural detail – all the elements of Bollywood.

I also tackle social issues like dowry, arranged marriage, female feticide, joint family living, and other subjects that set my fiction apart from the other writers’, even my fellow South Asian authors, who primarily write literary fiction.

THE SARI SHOP WIDOW is my third novel. Set on the streets of Edison, New Jersey’s Little India, it tells the story of a young businesswoman who rediscovers the magic of love, family, and her roots as she fights to save her failing sari boutique.

Little India is a quaint neighborhood filled with sari and clothing stores, jewelry shops, restaurants, music and video galleries, and grocery markets. It is a slice of India transplanted into suburban America. From a 22 karat gold necklace to a cup of spiced tea, from a plate of sizzling tandoori chicken to a hand-embroidered tunic top, one can buy most anything Indian in Little India.

My first two books, THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER and THE DOWRY BRIDE were set in India and dealt with hot-button social issues that plague women in contemporary India – the practices of dowry and aborting female fetuses in a male-oriented society.

However, since the tastes, scents, textures, and colors of India are available right here in the U.S., I decided to set my latest book against this somewhat exotic backdrop. Every time I visited Little India, I felt it would make a great place for a story. THE SARI SHOP WIDOW is a product of that urge to spin a story and plant it right in the heart of my home state of New Jersey, and offer a glimpse into the Indian-American immigrant experience to my American and Canadian readers.

The book trailer and excerpt of THE SARI SHOP WIDOW can be viewed at along with my favorite recipes, photos, and reviews. I’m on FaceBook and MySpace, too. Come on over to my website and take a look.

Question: Shobhan is giving away a copy of her latest book THE SARI SHOP WIDOW. She would love to know what you think of Bollywood or Indian/South Asian films. Let us know & you could be a lucky winner!


  1. Hi Shobhan :)
    Thank you for taking the time to post today. Are you on Twitter? I searched & searched but could not find you. I haven't seen any Bollywood movies. I loved Slumdog Millionaire though.
    All the best,
    PS - I posted this on my blog for Mon Nov 16th

  2. Shobhan - Thank you so much for joining us today! Your books sounds gorgeous. I've always loved films that cross cultures - I remember all the way back to Deepha Mehta's first film "Sam and Me". And I've seen several Can films by South-Asian Canadian filmmakers whose work is influenced by Bollywood. I did a paper in university on the film "Masala" by Srinivas Krishna. I loved "Bride and Prejudice" too - clever take on P and P. ;D

  3. Hi Shobhan - May I say your covers are exquisite.

    Once upon a time when I was making my 4th year film at university in Toronto (a fantasy story which required interesting costumes) I made a beeline for Toronto's Little India to pick up some panja (hand jewelry) and an elaborate toddler sari, which I used as the headdress for my main female character. Your story's type of sari store was my salvation!

  4. Hey Shobhan and the lovely Divas!

    I really applaud Shobhan for taking on controversial issues. Its not always easy to do and still give a HEA but she does it wonderfully.

  5. Thank you, ladies, for inviting me to be a guest on your popular blog and for your enthusiastic comments.

    I appreciate the support.

    Shobhan Bantwal

  6. Hi Shobhan! I have my (signed *grins*) copies and can't wait to dig in. They just sound so exciting and wonderful.

  7. Hey Shobhan

    Lovely to 'meet' you here at the Divas. Your books sound amazing, way to go on dealing with such taboo topics of the Indian society. As someone of Indian descent too, they resonate a chord deep inside. I first read about The Fordidden Daughter which was highlighted in the Books section Femina magazine last year I think it was. Last week, J Hali Steele got in touch with me and told me about your books again (she knows I also write about Indian society topics).

    I'm gonna try to get your books. Not easy since I'm in Mauritius, but will see to it even if I have to go special order to get them!

    Will look you up on Facebook, btw.



  8. Hi, Shoban,

    I love learning about history, real people and cultures through fiction--so much more fun than a traditional study, don't you think? I particularly enjoy stories set in NJ since I'm a born, bred and resident Jersey girl and not far from an 'on-site' visit to almost any NJ setting!
    Thank you for the glimpse you provide into a very rich culture indeed!

    Joanna Aislinn
    The Wild Rose Press Jan 15, 2010

  9. Hi Shoban~

    I love Bride and Prejudice, the Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice. It was awesome! I haven't seen any other Bollywood films, but I'd love to.

    Robin :)

  10. ow... Really you received an E-mail!! Awesome. I am a very big fan of Henri Langlois.
    Thanks for your very helpful blog post
    Have a nice time
    Dog Life Jackets

  11. Bride and Prejudice is also one of my favorite movies. It's the only Bollywood film I've seen but I have a friend who keeps telling me I should watch more of them. I'd love to know some of your favorites.

  12. Shobhan, sorry I just read this!

    This is such a fabulous post and I look forward to reading your books. BTW, I love Edison NJ and try to go there to eat whenever I can find a friend with a car. Despite the cold winter weather, the very American suburbia geography of the place, it does feel like an India away from India... Amazing how a culture and its food and clothing can create that atmosphere so many miles from home.

    All my best, Nina

  13. Hi there,
    I just want to say, I saw this book while perusing the proverbial airport bookstore in Toronto this September. I recall being hooked to each page, as the protagonist was very easy for me to relate to. The relationship she had with her parents, the sights of Oak Tree Road, the smells of exotic delicacies, the colorful career in NYC-- all were experiences I could relate to. Definitely want to catch the rest of the book, as my husband reminded me--I was running late to catch my flight because I was hooked to the book!


  14. I think the Bollywood films are fun!I loved The Bride and Prejudice. I only wish I could understand them without having to have the subtitle there.


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