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Puneet Bhandal


Holi Festival
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Available now!

Starlet Rivals (2022)

Twelve-year-old Bela has always dreamed about becoming a famous Bollywood star, and now the opportunity might finally be within her grasp. When a reality TV show gives her the chance to dance in front of the nation, she knows that she is performing for a place at the most prestigious stage school in Mumbai.

Can Bela win the Dance Starz competition to score a place at the Bollywood Academy and move one step closer to her dreams of stardom? And will child star Monica, the most in girl at school, see her as a friend or a rival?


Available now!

Melody Queen (2023)

Twelve-year-old Simi’s life is set. First: graduate from the Bollywood Academy, school to future stars. Second: become a mega-famous actor, just like her showbiz parents.


There’s only one problem: Simi would rather make music than act, and music is a profession dominated by men. Can Simi navigate the gender barriers of the industry to prove she has what it takes to become Bollywood’s next big music producer?

A story of passion for music and courage in the face of overwhelming odds, this second book in the dazzling world of Bollywood is sure to get your toes tapping and head bopping to Simi’s beat.

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Bela dreams of Bollywood stardom – but can a girl from her less than privileged background have a chance of winning the national Dance Starz competition, and a place at a prestigious Mumbai stage school? A deliciously readable addition to the stage-school story canon for song-and-dance fans of 7+.


Everything readers could want – dream come true film opportunities, stays in the most glamorous locations, new friendships and the tiniest hint of romance. And then there’s Monica too, born into Bollywood royalty and determined that Bela is not going to get any of the spotlight she feels is hers by right. The rivalry between them, and Monica’s dirty tricks, gives an added thrill to the story. Young readers who love Ballet Shoes or The Swish of the Curtain, or who dream of stage stardom, or those who just love stories with great characters in exciting situations, they’ll all devour this new series. Applause all round!

Starlet Rivals is a fast-paced, energetic tale that allows young readers to join the ups and downs of sudden fame and talent school life. From gasping at Monica’s dirty tricks to cheering Bela on as she grows in confidence, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the tale.

Not only is the book bursting with glamour and excitement, it also has thoughtful messages about the perils of the limelight and the importance of doing the right thing. A delightful page-turner.


I will be visiting schools, libraries and literary festivals with my Bollywood-themed book tour.


See dates below and watch this space for more details!

All Points East in the Neighbourhood

Bollywood Academy workshops

Join former Bollywood journalist Puneet Bhandal for real-life insights into the glamorous world of Bollywood, meet Bela and her friends, and learn some Bollywood dance moves of your own.

August 2023 watch this space for details

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About Puneet Bhandal

I'm a former Bollywood film journalist and a huge fan of Bollywood cinema. Starlet Rivals is my debut novel and I look forward to the release of Book 2, Melody Queen, on June 1, 2023!

I am also the owner of an occasionwear boutique where I get to design red-carpet dresses. My gowns have been modelled by real-life stars including Miss World contestants. Click the button below to see some of my creations.

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