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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Sam’s Story – A chapter from “The Five Foolish Virgins”


My novel “The Five Foolish Virgins” has been selling like proverbial hotcakes. Here is an extract from “The Five Foolish Virgins” available – one of the chapters – Sam’s Story.

You want to buy a copy…click here:
Buy Mohan Deep’s “The Five Foolish Virgins” (Flipkart).

Buy the Kindle version by clicking Mohan Deep’s “The Five Foolish Virgins”

You can also buy the hard copy from by clicking Mohan Deep’s “The Five Foolish Virgins”.

You want to read a chapter? Read it:

Sam’s Story

By the time I reached Bandra, it was eight in the evening. The old, decrepit building of Bhabha Hospital on the opposite side looked a little better in the darkness: darkness hides all the flaws. Continue reading “Sam’s Story – A chapter from “The Five Foolish Virgins””

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Just b’coz RGV can make a movie…

MD for the blog (smaller)

Yesterday, I’d an interesting visitor and if I’d more time, I’d have spent more time with her. 
She is the younger sister of a celebrity, much married scandalous model-type, who made news with her unconventional lifestyle. She had nothing except a mixed up philosophy that shocked the timid middle class and provided good copy, gossip and tidbits to glossies. Of course, being a woman willing to expose and talk about her intimate affairs helped. 
The lady, in her late fifties or early sixties, who came to me looked like her sister, dark, fat and old. She had said that ‘she had written a book’ and wanted guidance about how to go ahead with it. I didn’t mind meeting her.
It wasn’t a novel. It was to be ‘her legacy’ (her pompous words) before she departs. I won’t mention the subject. She thought it was important enough to interest housewives. 
Interestingly, the lady has never written anything in her life. Nor is she into reading. 
Continue reading “Just b’coz RGV can make a movie…”

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What is Karan Johar doing with ‘The Lunchbox’?

Saw ‘The Lunchbox’.
My first question is: what is Karan Johar doing here? 
But that will come later. 
Great performances by Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (though he is a little loud and makes an effort to steal the show from Irrfan) and a restrained performance by Nimrat Kaur. 
What I liked about the movie, besides it being a slice of life of Mumbai’s middle class and the ‘small moments’ of real people, is the end. 
No climax, no anti-climax, no surprise ending. 
Just leave the story hanging.. the way we, who wrote short stories in ’70s, used to do. I remember telling a critic that I end my short story at the point when the ink gets over!
I wrote nearly 200 short stories. I’d almost forgotten them. But seeing that even Karan Johar types are now interested in such stories (remember his Bombay Talkies?) I’m thinking of selecting 10 of mine, updating them and getting them published. 
Basu Chatterjee used many stories. ‘Rajanigandha’ was one of them. Basu Bhattacharya made ‘Aavishkaar’. There were others. There were serials too. No, I’m not talking of third class – but popular – Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chashma or Sharad Joshi’s equally bad ‘Laptaganj’. They were considered trash which they certainly are, but that is also because the people who watch them know nothing better. They read about ‘Oscar’ controversy and watch ‘The Lunchbox’. 
I don’t see any difference between them and Karan Johar. KJO is a commercial filmmaker who has managed all the awards and honors in Indi. For sometime he has longing for honors at film festivals and if possible Oscars. 
He doesn’t realize that it is difficult to swing both ways. 

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Bollywood menu: Rs 50 lakh and a role for a fuck, Rs 50 for the soul!

MD for the blog (smaller) carried my interview yesterday. Deepti Kaul, who did the interview is shocked with the dark side of Bollywood, has loved my one-liners. She specially mentions my favourite line, “Bollywood is where they pay Rs 50 lakh and a role for a f**k and fifty rupees for the soul!” I am thrilled as it took three rewrites before settling on this line.
I’d dedicate this quote to every Bollywood aspirant who was used and discarded.
Here is the entire text – unabridged:

New Delhi, Jul 20: The controversial author Mohan Deep has come up with a new novel ‘The Five Foolish Virgins’. The book reveals the dark side of Bollywood, the gory details about tinsel town’s connection with underworld and casting couch. The author talks to Deepti Kaul about his book and what went into it in a brief interview.

You’re already a controversial author and now comes this book ‘The Five Foolish Virgins’…Comment.
It is true that the tag of ‘controversial’ is always added before my name, whenever I am mentioned in the media. I liked it as I stood apart. I liked my individuality. I was not a conventional author. I had broken traditions, again and again. But I haven’t broken the traditions for the sake of it. I broke new grounds when I wrote the three star biographies. Industry might have been aghast at my treatment of Madhubala, Meena Kumari and Rekha but that didn’t matter. Nor did it matter that Rekha didn’t like what I wrote. What the hell would Rekha, a primary school dropout, know what a biography is usually all about? It was sheer coincidence that I wrote about Rekha.

To me, writing was important. Being close to the Bollywood personalities I had little choice. At one stage I’d fondly hoped that Rekha would be grateful as, someone of my caliber wrote her life. But it requires an educated and cultural background to value a biography. Stars are a spoilt lot. She would have been happier with a coffee table book, make up, fashion statements, close-ups and large, glossy air brushed photo-shopped pictures.
‘The Five Foolish Virgins’ is a natural step in my evolution as a writer. It is a novel with a large canvas. It is a story I always wanted to write. The migration of 20 million refugees during the partition in 1947 is one of the biggest historical happenings. My story is rooted in this period. It is the story of Sindhis and Punjabis and how the experience changed the entire character of these two communities.

“Bollywood is where they pay Rs 50 lakh and a role for a f**k and fifty rupees for your soul” – Yes your book is a fiction… But this line makes a strong statement… Comment.

It makes you think. Isn’t it? I was just wondering why we don’t have such lines coming from people like Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan! Amitabh Bachchan’s are banal quotes from his babuji’s writings. Aamir Khan’s idea of wit is to spit in the palm of Madhuri Dixit! They go on and on, pontificating, lecturing, but no one says anything profound…

Don’t you think your book will tarnish Bollywoood’s glamourous image?  As it shows the dark side of this glamour world.

Bollywood is a world full of glamour and I had no intention to ‘tarnish’ its image.

What is the reaction of the industry people?

Industry first reacted to the title. ‘The Five Foolish Virgins’ has a curiosity value. Is being a virgin foolish? Do the foolish girls remain virgins? The producers thought in terms of sex and sleaze. More than one producer offered to organize an item for the launch. They wanted the item to be with five young girls. I declined. I didn’t want that kind of image for the book. By now scores of filmmakers have read the novel and seem excited. Their excitement is with the story element, with the intrigue, with the inside stories and a gripping theme. The best compliment that I have received is from an experienced filmmaker. He told me that I have worked out everything. The director and the actors would have a ready script in their hands.

The novel can be turned into a Bollywood movie… So, have you already sold the story?

No. It is important that my novel is read. It is an experience between a writer and reader. Movie from my novel can be an exciting idea. Even a long running TV serial is possible. But I’m happy with being read.

You have referred to some actual incidents. Did friends in the industry raise eyebrows over it?

I have used the actual incidents as a part of timeline. I know for a fact that a drunk Raj Kapoor sat crying at the feet of Haji Mastaan after his ‘Mera Naam Joker’ bombed or that CBI discovered a transmitter when they raided Dilip Kumar’s bungalow and accused him of being a Pakistani spy. He never got a clean chit. A part of industry may not like it but it doesn’t matter.

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Madhubala Moment

One moment, one decision changes an entire life…
As I sit back, with The Five Foolish Virgins in press, I look back and recognize the moment I decided to write books. I call it Madhubala moment. It had to do with Nari (Magna) Hira’s decision to start Magna Books. Having had spent over 15 years, I had got bored with freelance journalism. I wanted a challenge.
I sent a one line fax to Hira: Would you be interest in a biography of Madhubala as your first book?
I was doing a Henry Miller. Henry Miller had written a book on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Monroe had died young. She had, among her lovers, John F Kennedy the handsome President of United States. Madhubala too had died young. Among the men who wooed her was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had become the Prime Minister of Pakistan for four years.
Hira didn’t waste time in accepting the offer. And my first book – rather the first unauthorized Bollywood biography in India – was born. All hell broke loose when the book came out. I had written extensively about her love life, her secret ailment and the beautiful person that Madhubala was. Her sister challenged my version and I could give her a fitting reply. She wrote (in Mid-day) that they were Khans and I had called them Dehlavis. I had started my research, interviews and investigation from the mazaar of Madhubala, and knowing Urdu had reproduced her complete name from the inscription in stone on her mazaar: Mumtaz Jahan Begum Dehlavi!
I wrote that, “It didn’t really matter whether she was Dehlavi or Khan…She had carved a place for herself as Madhubala…and her family should call themselves Madhubalavi with pride.”
Controversies followed ‘Simply Scandalous: Meena Kumari’ and ‘Eurekha’ too.
After ‘Eurekha’ hit the stands and Rekha started helplessly pulling her hair, distancing herself from the person I said she was, I wrote an open letter to Rekha, challenging her to sue me if I was wrong. She didn’t. Every skeleton from her life – every man in her life (from Kiran Kumar to Amitabh Bachchan and of course both her marriages (please note the plural) and her relationship with her secretary – figured in the biography.
My ‘Nehru and the Tantrik Woman’ faced censor trouble. Set in the dark days of emergency period, this was a historical-fictional play about the illegitimate child of Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru’s child was the reality, and the story about his search was fiction. Maharashtra State has a censor board for plays. You can’t stage a play without this certificate. They decline to issue a certificate. I persisted. They organized a meeting at Pune. I took a 25 kg box of notes, books and photo-copies to show my research. They admired my efforts but didn’t read any document. Their argument was simple, “Okay, it is true. We are not disputing it. We can’t allow you to stage it as it can cause law and order problem.”
Further argument was unnecessary.
I was disgusted. My disgust remains. This is why, I have written a novel. Pure fiction. Total fiction. Any resemblance to person or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.


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