Its a warm and fuzzy feeling,this business of cradling ones first book in ones arms. Caressing it ever so gently,gazing at it with goo-goo eyes,taking deep whiffs of its distinct fragrance,with intoxicating top notes of the printers ink and glue. I have little desire to produce a child so this is as close as I will get to experience the joys of fatherhood,having just delivered a bonny book.
It all began two years ago. Friends and well-wishers urged me to put pen to paper. We have been reading your columns and articles for the past fifteen years. Its time you settled down and wrote your novel. Its inevitable,how long will you delay the process? Its not like youre getting any younger,you know. Be a man,take the plunge. Initially I resisted,nervous of undertaking the great responsibility that comes with siring a novel. But then,after careful deliberation with my wife,we decided the time was right. I had put away a nest egg to afford the indulgence of taking a years sabbatical from filmmaking and focus on the task. And so,with some trepidation,I set out to write Scandal Point.
Is it a dirty novel? people asked breathlessly,Does it have loads of bodice ripping? Arrey,you must expose all those high society,Page 3 types and all their shenanigans, said others. You are an insider,so you must put in all the garma garam masala that you have seen and heard over the past thirty years in the business.
I heard them with a sinking heart. Did people believe I had taken a year out of my life to write an indigenous Fifty Shades of Grey?
Boss,you should become the male Shobhaa De and call your novel Fifty Shades of De, grinned a marketing guru. It will be a guaranteed bestseller. Total dhamaal.
What emerged from the reactions I received to the fact that I was writing a novel set in Bollywood and high society was that people were besotted with gossip and scandal. No matter how much I may lampoon the film industry and the super rich and famous,the fact remains that the joke is on us. A savage lust for scandal consumes us. We have devolved into vampires that feed on the depravity of others. The media daily serves up juicy nuggets of sleaze and sensationalism so our voracious appetite may be gratified. Tiring quickly of one fable of inequity,we rabidly move on to the next,hoping that the new tawdry tale will prove spicier,filthier than yesterdays.
And so begins Scandal Point.
Yes,its a racy,sexy novel and people will find vicarious thrill in second guessing real life personalities in my book but ultimately it is as much a comment about our obsession,as a society,with media and celebrity as it is about Bollywood and drug-addled billionaires.
Two years from whence it was a mere twinkle in my eye,and many birthing pangs later,my book is finally delivered. And I am an unabashedly doting dad.