What provided you the impetus to write Acting Smart?
I was talking to Mita Kapur, one of India’s prominent literary agents, about a book written by my husband Sanjay Chopra, titled Talespin, when I mentioned that I had written an article. It tells aspiring actors how to take care of their appearance, image and publicity. She thought it could be developed into a book, and I said I could write it in three months; she almost fell off the chair laughing. It took me four years to finish Acting Smart (published by HarperCollins, Price 299).
Since nearly 4,000 copies have already been sold, you must be happy.
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Being an actor, I think in terms of tickets, and have no clue about publishing. Initially, I thought they should print some 2-3 lakh copies. However, I have been told 4,000 is a good number.
The book is likely to go into reprint soon. Would you like to make any additions?
I would add a chapter or two and expand a few of the existing ones. The book tells the readers that they can’t relax, and have to be very inclined. Also, to not just dream but pursue their dreams. It’s full of combined wisdom of people I have worked with as well as many from the industry who have shared their experiences and beliefs with me. The book should reach more people than just actors.
Did you tap into your memories and experiences to write it?
I have tried not to bring in much of my experiences. For the book, I had four sessions with Yash Chopra at his office; Imtiaz Ali spoke late into the night about his lows and highs; Shabana Azmi gave love, lunch and advice. Similarly, Anil Kapoor, Boman Irani and Rajkumar Hirani talked about their work in detail. I am indebted to all of them.
In your book, you give so much importance to theatre and training.
I have been acting since I was two and did amateur theatre when in Delhi. After acting in movies, I went back to the drawing board and decided to work on my skills. That took me to Satyadev Dubey and I also did plays with Feroz Abbas Khan.
Are there more books in you?
Now that this one is done and dusted, I want to focus on a film script. We have chosen a story from Sanjay’s book and are developing it into a full-fledged script. I also want to create content for women-centric movies in which their characters will be more nuanced and fleshed out.