|Un-fair: Shah Rukh, Aishwarya
New Delhi, Jan. 4: Shah Rukh Khans six-pack abs are just right for steamy scenes, but research by Mills and Boon shows that despite his fairness cream endorsement, he isnt white enough for Indian women.
He may be the King of Bollywood, but he would find it really tough to land the part of Prince Charming in a Mills and Boon book.
We did intensive group sessions across the country before our launch and asked them if they would like an Indian context, and they said they would like the stories kept the way they have always been, said Donna Hayes, publisher and CEO, Mills and Boon (Harlequin Enterprises).
Hooked to the original flavour of Mills and Boon novels, Indian women may not be ready to accept Aishwarya Bachchan hopelessly in love with an alpha Abhishek as yet, but the company eventually wants to bring in a little more desi flavour.
We hope to bring in more Indian content eventually, said Andrew J. Go, director, Indian operations. We have a novel coming soon, which has an Indian hero and is in an Indian setting.
All set to woo India with passion and persistence — Go is even learning Hindi — Mills and Boon (Harlequin Enterprises) has now officially established a presence in the country.
The company has tied up with an exclusive distributor in India, so die-hard romantics can get a shiny new copy fresh off the shelves for Rs 99.
Working on a magazine model — where new titles will replace the old ones — the company will bring out 10 new books a month.
We found that teenagers curious about love and waiting for Prince Charming start reading it, said Go. Older women feel it is a stress buster. These are fun, you can crack one open when you are on the Metro and fall in love, he added.
Indian men are also ready to accept that they read Mills and Boon.
An army of 1,300 writers spins these feel-good stories with happy endings. Aspiring writers, especially those brought up on a good diet of Hindi movies, are always welcome.
We are looking for new voices, said Go. We have already got a few Indian writers on our staff and have started getting manuscripts from others, Go said.
The only limitation on the writers creativity is to stick to a happy ending.
It must be uplifting, said Go. There are sad things in the world; you dont need to read about them here.
There is even a writing guideline for those who want to venture into the territory.
The woman in Harlequin Romance novels must be warm, easy to like and engage with, according to the guideline. The hero is always strong and charismatic
The guideline adds: High sensual tension between the protagonists is vital.
But unlike Mills and Boon Modern Romance — a passionate, highly charged affair where explicit lovemaking is fine — in the Harlequin Romance series, we close the bedroom door.