What The Stars Say

Bollywood celebrities seem to have been bitten by a new bug – writing. But are they telling their life stories or just stories? How much is fiction and how much the truth?

9/2/2017 6:29:30 PM
written By : Nithya Subramanian Print

“Elizabeth (Taylor) is an eternal one-night stand. She is my private and personal bought mistress. And lascivious with it,” wrote the formidable Shakespearean actor of the 1950s in his memoir The Richard Burton Diaries. Whether this was a booze-soaked salacious declaration about his ex-wife Elizabeth Taylor or an observation written in sobriety, it sure had readers salivating.

Compare this to Karan Johar’s muted confession in An Unsuitable Boy, co-authored by the Hindustan Times’ journalist Poonam Saxena, “Everybody knows what my sexual orientation is. I don’t need to scream it out. If I need to spell it out, I won’t only because I live in a country where I could possibly be jailed for saying this. Which is why I Karan Johar will not say the three words that possibly everybody knows about me.” These lines may not be explosive, but it is a start to put an end to all speculation.

After brand endorsements, event performances and guest appearances, Bollywood celebrities seem to have been bitten by a new bug – writing. In the last few years, more than a dozen books have been written by them. Leading the pack is Twinkle Khanna aka Mrs Funny Bones, whose The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad has reportedly sold more than 100,000 copies. Her fans are extremely adulatory. As one reader, Mallika Oberoi, wrote online, “This book not only touches but rips open the stony part of the heart that most of us carry these days. Twinkle Khanna, you have, with such detail, weaved the intricacies of ordinary Indian lives which are huge in their own prospects.”  

Others include Karan Johar’s An Unsuitable Boy, Naseeruddin Shah’s candid memoir And Then One Day, The Style Diary Of A Bollywood Diva by Kareena Kapoor, her sister Karisma Kapoor’s My Yummy Mummy Guide and Emraan Hashmi’s book, The Kiss Of Life, chronicling his infant son’s battle – and victory – against cancer. Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s The Great Indian Diet co-authored with nutritionist Luke Coutinho takes you on a fitness journey while Sonali Bendre Behl gives you parenting tips in The Modern Gurukul: My Experiments with Parenting. For those small-towners who aspire to a Bollywood career, Ayushmann Khurrana’s Cracking The Code may be a recommended read while Rishi Kapoor’s Khullam Khulla is an unapologetically honest memoir where the actor does not hesitate to talk about the private life of his father, Raj Kapoor, who was in relationships with his leading ladies, including Nargis and Vyjayanthimala. Dilip Kumar’s autobiography, Substance And Shadow, and the authorised biography of yesteryear’s baddie, Prem Chopra, Prem Naam Hai Mera, Prem Chopra are also on the bookshelves.

Talking about this trend, veteran columnist, social commentator and novelist who has her own imprint with Penguin, Shobhaa De said, “I am amazed it took this long! Bollywood is a gigantic industry. It has been there for over a hundred years. And yet so poorly represented in literature. Hollywood has always understood the potential of its stars. There are multiple biographies of the greats. And terrific books on the movies themselves. Bollywood needs books to present itself to fans and the world at large.”  

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