Amitabh Bachchan bachchon ke liye hai: Meghnad Desai

Amitabh Bachchan <i>bachchon ke liye hai</i>: Meghnad DesaiJaipur Literature Festival saw a refreshing amalgam of people and ideas. One of the most novel combinations was in the form of Meghnad Desai, Indian-born British economist and Labour Party Politician. He chose to juxtapose people as diverse as Nehru and Dilip Kumar in his biographical work on the Bollywood star. The prolific writer was caught relishing a cup of lemon tea with exotic herbs in a very good disposition by in the sprawling lawns of Hotel Diggi Palace, Jaipur, this Thursday. The author politician, who loves writing on films and society, opened up and displayed a glittering-sharp understanding of life in India and abroad, culture, entertainment and political rights for NRIs. Excerpts from an informal chat with Shivangi Singh and Nabila Habib of

Q: What did you rediscover about India in your book ‘The Rediscovery of India’?

A: Well, I rediscovered that India need not be worried about being a united country. But it should accept much more diversity than people thought about and an increase in diversity can be managed even in a democratic framework. And that is India ’s strength. India doesn’t need a single story to show why it is a ‘nation’. All single stories are false – because there is no single story that can fit all of India in it.

Q: What do you think about the voting rights of NRIs?

A: My idea is that it is only worth doing if you are going to do it with NRI as a separate entity and not as part of the Indian sea from which they come. There are only five million NRIs. There are seven hundred million Indian workers. Five million will not make much difference in winning each constituency. But if people thought that they should have special interest, then they should get a constituency on online voting and have a Rajya Sabha member. I am proposing a Rajya Sabha member for NRIs.

Q: ‘Rediscovery of India’ is a non-fiction. Do you plan to write a fiction in future?

A: I have written fiction in the past and it was released in India last May. It is a critical thriller. I write quite a lot of things, fiction and non-fiction.Q: And poetry?

A: (Smiles) That’s hard work. That requires real talent. I don’t have real talent!

Q: What inspires you as a writer?

A: You know, I have so many things to write about, it needs no inspiration. I cannot wait to write my next book because over a long period of life I have got a lot of ideas which I want written. Yes, you know, when you are young, you need inspiration. When you are old you need time.

Q: Do you plan to write more on Hindi cinema?

A: Oh, yes! My next book is going to be on ‘Pakeezah’, and then my wife and I are going to write on Hindi cinema.

Q: What made you choose Dilip Kumar as your theme? What that thing about Dilip Kumar that inspired you to write on him?

A: He was a part of my life when I was growing up in India . Dilip Kumar’s life is a part of my life. He has been a superstar and I liked his films very much.

Q: Would you write on Amitabh Bachchan?

A: No. See, I left India when I was small. Amitabh Bachchan was not in my scene. I have not lived in India permanently since 1961. I have lived abroad. Amitabh Bachchan bachchon ke liye hai (is for kids).

Q: Which is your favourite among the contemporary lot in Bollywood? Whom would you choose if you had to write a book on?

A: I guess it is probably Naseeruddin Shah, or someone like him.

Q: His new film ‘Ishqiya’ is going to be released soon.

A: Yeah, let’s see if I am able to catch it…