For film producer B L Gautam,story-telling took a new turn when he decided to write a book. Known for projects like A Wednesday and Khosla ka Ghosla,he soon found himself preoccupied with the written word. After working on the story for three years,Gautam is now ready to release his first novel,titled Andy Leelu,early next month.
Set in the backdrop of the famine and war in the 1960s,Andy Leelu is the story of a boy who seeks a solution to his personal problems by running away from home. The world is his hideout, says the Mumbai-based author,as he explains the premise of the book. The book is named after the protagonist Andy who is a runaway boy. The backdrop is India of the 60s. I have depicted the wars of 1962 and 1965 along with the misery of diseases such as cholera and poverty that India faced in those years, he says.
The narrative flows in multiple layers. As one tries to follow the boys exploits,a changing India comes to the fore. Andy is based in a small sleepy village in Haryana. As one follows him,the issues of a newly independent India are raked up. Indias secular turn and the struggle for an equitable society are woven in Andys life story, describes Gautam.
Gautams own struggles in life inspired him to tell the story,though its not autobiographical,as he points out. I had grown up in a small hamlet. Economically,we were unstable. I started off as a school teacher and then went on to become a customs officer. Events around me like illegal trade and Indo-Bangladesh border issues deeply moved me, he says. In 2000,he moved to Mumbai and got into production.
Being a producer gave me an opportunity to look at stories again. I think the time had come for me to write a story. We were such an honest nation; I wanted to capture that, he says.