Shobhaa De is a woman who needs no introduction. Her outstanding achievements, her awe-inspiring persona, her intelligence and her headstrong attitude do the needful. Resham Sengar of Zeenews.com spoke to this columnist and author of numerous hit novels about her passion for literature, the people close to her heart, her views on Indian cinema, today’s crop of actresses and much more in a candid conversation.
Five things you love about literature…
Literature stimulates your brain cells, your imagination, your fantasy; you stretch your own limits as a writer and you tend to fall in love with words.
A piece of advice you would give to the younger lot of actresses that Bollywood has today.
I think they should always strive to look gorgeous, fit and attractive. They need to demand better roles for themselves than being nearly decorative objects in films or as sidekicks to heroes.
If you get a chance to unlearn something, what would it be?
I think driving – because I have no aptitude for it and I don’t enjoy it.
Aren’t you interested in film making?
Not at all. It is a different skill set that I don’t possess.
What do you feel when you look at the kind of Hindi cinema being made today?
Today we have a mixed bag when it comes to cinema. Some of it is very, very good, while some of it is very, very bad and some of it is really awful. But there is a lot of talent out there, lot of young people and bold directors who are making films on subjects closer to the Indian realities. So I feel very optimistic about the state of today’s cinema.
Your latest novel ‘Sethji’ explores the realities of a big bad world of politics. And the good part is that the novel is being appreciated by the critics and readers. So what are you writing next?
I am planning a trilogy on power, which would try exploring the power held by politicians, the corporate houses and the power exerted by Bollywood through popular culture.
How should a first time author pitch his or her work to a publisher?The best way to do it is to have a really crisp and focused outline along while sending the book proposal to prospective publishers.
Please name any book you would like to get made into a movie.
I would like ‘Sethji’ to be made into a film and I hope it happens very soon.
Who is your 3AM friend?
Any one out of the six kids I have! Besides them, I would not call any one my 3AM friend.
What is the simplest way you can recommend to look good and stay beautiful always?
If you feel good, chances are that you look good too. Think positively because positivity is the best prescription to look good.
Please name your personal favorite literary novel.
I love Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’.
A piece of advice you would like to give to today’s youth.
My advice is to stay engaged with what’s happening in India, invest more time in family and arm yourself with a very good education.