Believe it or not, Shah Rukh Khan compelled author Sonali Ghosh Sen to drive for five hours in snow-bound Geneva 

 

 

Supreeta Singh

 
Sonali Ghosh Sen is desperate. She badly needs a vacation and requires an inspiration for her next book. After a whirlwind tour to promote her first work of fiction, K-K-Krazy About Khan, we don’t wonder why. As the name clearly suggests, the novel is about a young girl called Kriti Kapoor and her obsession with the Bollywood actor, Shah Rukh Khan (SRK). Written in a breezy language abound with trivias about SRK’s movies, the fan-fiction is both light-hearted and engaging. We caught up with the freelance copywriter and film critic-turned-author, just ahead of her book’s launch in Kolkata.

You have led a very colourful life.
Yes. My father was in the Army and I went to about seven schools all over the country wherever he was posted. Thankfully, college life was less nomadic. I graduated from the Shri Shikshayatan College in Kolkata. Thereafter, I moved to Mumbai for post graduation in Mass Communication at Sophia Polytechnic. I have worked in several advertisement agencies as a copywriter including Lintas (now Lowe), Clarion (now Bates), Mudra, Nexus Equity and Rediffusion. I was the creative director at Naukri.com, when I moved with my husband to live in Geneva and for a short time in Zanzibar. At present I live in Kolkata. This is where I finally finished writing this book.

How did you decide on the subject of the book?
The two passions in my life are books and movies. I read any book I can lay my hands on and I see all movies whether I know the language or not. I helped organise the Film Festival of the Dhow Countries in Zanzibar in 2004! Bollywood has a special place in my heart. The subject of this book was decided when a friend suggested that since I loved movies so much why not write a story about it. Thereafter, it was my own fondness for Shah Rukh, his background, his struggle and his great fan following that helped me pattern the book.

How long did you take to write the book?

I started writing this book in Geneva, more than three years ago. Of course, within this period I faced the dreaded writer’s block and couldn’t write a single word for about a year! While I quite like chick-lit as a genre that tells a simple story of love and romance, I don’t define this book as such. I think this is more of a fan-fic, or fan-lit.

Writing is a lonely process. What did you discover about yourself while you worked on this book?
True, writing demands a lot in terms of discipline and dedication, as no one else can step in to do your work. The hard part was sitting on the chair in front of the computer every morning, to type at least 1000 words everyday. Some days it was more like 10 words! However, once the characters took shape, they took a life of their own. From then on it became fun and I didn’t mind waking up even at 6 in the morning to write, or not having people around when I wrote. I had the company of my characters with me.

Is the book autobiographical?
Other than some incidental commonalities, such as a career in the advertising industry and love for Bollywood movies, I am not at all like Kriti. It is a story more about people I have seen and heard of but not necessarily known. At the same time, bits and pieces of all characters and incidents have a toehold in some experience or acquaintance of mine. I do have a friend totally into spiritual new age gurus like Amrita in the book. Similarly there are several Palika Bazaar incidents that I have seen happen, which I have incorporated in the book, albeit modified. I have freely used my creative license, thereby sketching characters and situations that fit into this ‘over-the-top’ story.

Since when did you become a fan of SRK?
I have liked SRK from his Fauji days and have followed his career keenly. I think I belong to what I would like to call a Shah Rukh generation. Films like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge or other movies made by director Karan Johar are part of a collective movie consciousness and it’s hard not be a fan of Shah Rukh.

Have you really watched all his movies?
Yes, in the first or as close to the first show as possible. It was a bitterly cold snow filled winter when Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was shown in a theatre in Zurich. One show starting at 9 pm was all that was there. We drove all the way from Geneva, a five hour drive under freezing conditions, to reach just in time to watch it.
When I started writing this book, I had to start collecting all of SRK’s movies and watch them all over again – this time with a lot more concentration than what I had done the first time when they were released. However, my book is not a ‘deep’ film analysis of his movies but fun storytelling. I have intertwined his movie scenes, characters and songs within the story, creating an interesting reference layer for the readers.

Did you ever meet SRK? Does he know about the book?
Yes, once. He had come to Paris to inaugurate his wax statue at Musée Grévin. I had an invitation. It was a five-minute opportunity, just enough for a photo op before security took over! I have sent SRK a copy of the book and am waiting for a reply.

Advertisements