A few years ago Slumdog Millionaire offered a vibrant and heartbreaking fictional portrayal of Mumbai’s slum world. It showed us the brutal reality of poverty in India’s financial capital, yet the narrative was tempered with hope in the face of seemingly intolerable adversity. In similar fashion, Sonia Faleiro’s Beautiful Thing draws aside the sequinned veil of India’s sex industry, focusing on the compelling real-life story of Leela, an exotic bar dancer at Night Lovers, one of the seedy nightclubs on Mumbai’s notorious Mira Road.
Here, worlds collide and sometimes implode in an underworld populated by dancers, gangsters, pimps, prostitutes, brothel madams and eunuchs. The stories in the book are not sugar-coated fare. Faleiro, a journalist from Mumbai, has delivered a gripping and intimate portrayal of the lives of the women who work