I am a story myself, says Punjabi short story writer Mohan Bhandari. The Sahitya Akademi award winner is penning his autobiography (yet untitled),a process he defines as cathartic. The good,the bad and ugly,when you want to share it all,without camouflaging any part,you know the time is right to tell your story, he says. Bhandaris creative and personal life has been one of struggle financial hardships and creative roadblocks included.
Like him,another star who has struggled to the top,actor Anupam Kher,has said it all in a one-man play,Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai. Now,Kher has turned author with a life-coaching book,The Best Thing About You is You. Theatre-person Neelam Man Singh Chowdhury too,is offering readers a look into her past through her autobiography,Behind the Curtains.
I believe that there are more lessons to be learnt from failure than success. Dealing with failure successfully has been my way of combating the vicissitudes of life, says Kher,who laughed at the reverses of his life in Kucch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai in 2005.
Ironically,the play has become my most successful endeavour and was the genesis of the book, says Kher. Available in various regional languages and as an ebook,The Best Thing About You is You contains Khers views on topics such as anger management,change,relationships,fear,failure,and stress.
Racy,honest and fun is how Chowdhury describes Behind the Curtains,which has taken three years to complete. The story of her growing up in Amritsar and gradually finding her calling makes for a rewarding read.
She describes watching her first plays,Othello and Jasma Odan,when theatre veteran Ebrahim Alkazi brought them to Amritsar in 1971.
From NSD to forming my own theatre company in Chandigarh,it has been a roller-coaster ride, says Chowdhury. She adds that the process of writing gave her a space for privacy,isolation and the freedom to move back and forth. I wasnt sure of my skills,but those who have read the final draft say it reads well, she says.
The veterans hope the story of their lives will light those of readers in some way.
Even in the worst situations,I never compromised my integrity and I hope my story will be an
inspiration to struggling young writers. I hope it will give them a courage to carry on and never give up on their dreams, states Bhandari.