Gibreel Farishta (GEE-bree-EHL fah-REESH-tah), a forty-year-old actor, formerly named Ismail Najruddin. Poor and orphaned, Farishta escapes his poverty and becomes India’s most significant film star. When an Air India jumbo jet is sabotaged over the English Channel by Sikh terrorists, Farishta is one of two survivors. Rescued from the sea, he dresses in the clothes of his host, Rosa Diamond’s late husband. The authorities permit him to go free. He falls into an affair with Alleluia Cone (née Cohen), who scaled Mount Everest and whom he had met several months previously following a near-fatal illness that preceded his mysterious disappearance from Bombay. Finally, Farishta’s fortunes suffer a reversal. His films fail to attract audiences. He shoots his well-meaning film producer, Whisky Sisodia, and throws Alleluia off the roof of a high-rise building, then ends his own life.
Saladin Chamcha (sah-lah-DEEN CHAM-chah), an actor, master mimic, and costar of a popular English television series. Estranged son of a prominent Anglophile Bombay businessman, Chamcha (formerly Salahuddin Chamchawala) is one of two survivors of an Air India jumbo jet that is destroyed by Sikh terrorists over the English Channel. Pulled from the sea by racist...
(The entire section is 508 words.)