Mahesh Bhatt on Mohan Deep

The launch of Color Me Rich just got over.
Filmmaker, writer and thinker Mahesh Bhatt launched it. After unwrapping the parcel, Mahesh Bhatt spoke about me. I’ll cherish these words forever.
He said, “As I was leaving my daughter Pooja‘s office at five to seven, making sure that I come here by 7:45 , she told me ‘I think Papa you’re doing the sweetest thing by going for Mohan Deep‘s book launch because he was the only guy who supported me when this controversy erupted about the body paint. So, when you burn into people’s memory, when they feel vulnerable, especially in the society which pretends to be very upright and very moral and it takes sadistic delight in kind of savaging you, you remember those few very brave people, in the media especially, who have the balls to stand up and protect you from the so called rot which is unleashed on you. So, on behalf of my daughter I thank you for what you did, Mohan. A good deed that is done always resonates through time.”
Mahesh Bhatt added, “Coming to your writing, I’m shocked to know that you wrote ten books. In this age and time when you are on Twitter, where you are limited to 140 characters, to sit down and write 500 words is a phenomenal task. So, anybody who puts pen to paper and writes is a most extraordinary individual. I think the most solitary of all acts is to write and I think our industry suffers from what is called ‘narrative starvation’ and that is because we talk about film stories. We don’t write stories. We talk about scripts. We don’t write scripts. So, I think Mohan has dared to excavate lives of icons in the past: Madhubala, Meena Kumari ji, rubbed Rekha ji the wrong way! I think you have always had this tendency to gravitate on the wrong side, as they say, of this field but that is what brings both of us together! So, I think this book obviously, when she was reading that strange name of the wine that even I struggled with, it indicates that you have really gone into the lives of the rich and the super rich and you have a good looking model on the cover and Color Me Rich has the fragrance of a blockbuster and it’s going to climb the charts higher and higher and higher. And we’ll make sure that every individual who walks out of here tweets about it and raves about it even if they’ve not read more than two lines in their bloody life! So I think, congratulations and it’s very heartening to see you still on the crease, daring, baring and saying, “I won’t stop as life doesn’t have a full stop, the spirit of Mohan Deep will not have a full stop! I’m certain about that! Well done, Mohan. Congratulations!'”
This has been a memorable launch for me for many reasons and these words certainly are one of them.


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Pataudi – Nawab of Cricket

pataudi and sharmila

Book Review: On the eve of Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement, I review a book about another ‘Nawab of Cricket’ who too played and retired at his own terms.
Though I am not a cricket buff, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi has always fascinated me.
He was the Nawab of Pataudi, or, Tiger or Tyg to friends. This is why I picked up “Pataudi, Nawab of Cricket”, a book edited by Suresh Menon with, a foreword by Sharmila Tagore.
Here was a real Nawab, though without the privy purses and the title, but with a definite air of royalty. I’d even thought of Pataudi when Padmini Kolhapure planted a kiss on the cheek of Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.
His marriage to Sharmila Tagore interested me. Here was a true-blue Nawab, who was marrying an actress, an actress whose family tree connected with Rabindranath Tagore. She had debuted in a Satyajit Ray film and had ‘shocked’ the world (the world that was interested in such things) by wearing a two-piece bikini and more important, was a Hindu. These people seemed to belong to a world that was way different from the world of Syed Shahabuddin and LK Advani.
I believe that their marriage added to their stature.
What impressed me was the stories about Pataudi losing his eye and yet bouncing back to become one of the greatest captains and cricketers in India. There might have been more details in some books, and if there was one I think “Tiger’s Tales”. I missed reading it. It was only from the articles that paid tributes to him after his death, that I learned more about him. I read every account, and forgot about it.
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The Dying Indian Book


Authors don’t crib about editors and publishers in their columns. It has to do with the survival instinct. This is why I took notice of the recent column of Vanita Kohli-Khandekar. Writing in Midday about her experience, she lambasts the entire community of book editors. She had written one-third of a book and now thought of approaching some book editors and publishers. She had a hard time fixing a meeting with the editors of Penguin India, and even after she got an appointment, she had to wait for 45 minutes before she could meet the bored-looking book editor. Within two minutes of listening to her, he told her that “Short stories don’t sell.” She had a similar experience with at least three other people who were ‘rude, unresponsive and put her down’. Vanita is not some tyro author. She is the writer of ‘Indian Media Business’ and writes at least two columns, one each in Midday and Business Standard. And if a lady with her background had this experience, the fate of a tyro writer can only be imagined. Like she says, the publishing industry is staring at annihilation, if not extinction, because of this attitude. Yet, according to Vanita, the editors working for the publishing houses don’t care, are incapable of reading and running through several manuscripts and book proposals they get every day, and they are not trained. Not surprisingly, the most successful books have not come from regular publishers but from self-published authors or small publishers.
I have known this for a very long time.
MD for the blog (smaller)

I’d go several steps ahead and compare the bunch of editors in Penguin, as well as in other bigger publishing houses, with the army of salesmen in malls and the waiters in the mushrooming coffee shops – uninterested, untrained, insecure and jealous. You can see them huddled in one corner of Croma or Reliance, or other outlets where the ‘boss’, two rungs above the huddled staff, was once a part of this group.
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