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Holi Festival


Bollywood Academy Books Tour – in-person or virtual!

Puneet can visit your school, library or literary festival with a Bollywood-themed event tailormade for your audience. Whether a small group or hundreds of people in a school hall or even virtual – anything is possible! Here is what to expect:


Puneet will share fun and fascinating stories about her work as a film journalist, giving young people a glimpse of Bollywood behind the scenes!

An introduction to Bollywood and what makes it so unique, fabulous and loved all over the world by sharing some of her favourite song clips.

Listen to Puneet read exciting excerpts from her books Starlet Rivals and Melody Queen. Learn all about the inspiration behind the stories and lovable characters.

Learn to craft your own exciting story with Puneet.

Ask Puneet all your burning questions about writing, and of course, about Bollywood!

Dance with Puneet, if it's an in-person event! Enjoy a Bollywood dance workshop where she can teach you the steps to a Bollywood song and then everyone (or volunteers) dance together!


Antoinette MPL Cooper: Kingsford Community School, Newham

"Puneet was absolutely fantastic when she came to our school! The pupils had an amazing time listening to her wealth of knowledge and could not stop talking about how much fun they had afterwards. Thank you greatly for coming to our school"

Charlene Clarke: Northbury Primary School, Barking 

"Thank you Puneet for delivering an engaging and wonderful workshop for Northbury Primary School. We really enjoyed hearing about your life as a Bollywood journalist and your journey to becoming an author. After speaking to the children, it was clear that they enjoyed the experience, especially the Bollywood dancing. Thank you again and I hope you can visit our school again very soon"

Pooja Bhopal, Whitmore High School

"It was such a pleasure having you at Whitmore High School. Was really nice to meet you and hear your story, it had inspired us all. The students really enjoyed meeting you and loved your books. Thank you for attending and making our World Book Day such a fun filled day for our students"

Email: for enquiries


Gibraltar Literary Festival


I had a fantastic time at the Gibraltar International Literary Festival in November 2023. Here is a clip from an interview with Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation 

Interview in the Gibraltar Chronicle, November 2023


Puneet Bhandal on more diversity in the publishing industry


The glamorous and glitzy world of the Bollywood film industry was brought to the stage at the Gibraltar International Literary Festival captured in two young adult novels written by Puneet Bhandal. Bollywood (a play on the word Hollywood), the Hindi language film industry based in Mumbai in India, is the biggest film industry in the world. With a cinema audience of an estimated 2.2 billion people a year, Bollywood films are popular with audiences around the world.


A former Bollywood industry journalist for the Eastern Eye newspaper in the UK, Mrs Bhandal described of her experience working with the stars. Inspired by this time, she based the Bollywood Academy series on children attending a school of performing arts with the aim of making it into the world-famous industry. In her book ‘Starlet Rivals’ she follows the story of Bela, who comes face-to-face with Monica, the daughter of established stars, in a storyline based on nepotism within the movie industry.


‘Melody Queen’ follows the story of Simi who dreams of breaking into the male-dominated world of music production within the industry. Mrs Bhandal explained that these stories were 15 years in the making, but it was during the Covid-19 lockdown that she was able to put pen to paper and really focus on writing the story. She identified a gap in the market for young Asian readers, and the books happened at the right time when the right publisher was willing to take a chance on her vision at a time when there is a push for more diversity in the publishing industry.


As for her next book, Mrs Bhandal is currently working on a historical fiction novel. “I am really loving writing it and I have learned so much during the process." Turning towards her role as a published author, Mrs Bhandal said it really is a “labour of love” and something that a writer “really wants to do”. In answer to questions from Dr Jennifer Ballantine, Mrs Bhandal told the audience she listens to podcasts and has been carrying out research for the novel, and has developed her own process of writing by giving herself a “daily deadline”.


She writes 1,000 words a day late at night after her children have gone to bed, adding: “I have to do this for myself.” In addition to having worked as a Bollywood journalist, Mrs Bhandal also launched herself as a clothes designer, designing clothes for the likes of the Miss England competition.

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