“Creativity is addictive like a drug…. You have to be constantly creating something new to feel good”.
Read the book to find out who said this… says Author Sonia Golani
Q. We all love Bollywood. How would you describe your fascination for this entertaining fraternity? What made you choose the theme of this book-Directors’ stories?
“No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul” What the famous Swedish director Ingmar Bergman said is so true!
I have always loved watching films. My books are on themes that deeply interest me. So after writing about ‘women in leadership positions’ in my first book Corporate Divasand about ‘choosing your career after your heart’ in my second book My Life, My Rules, I decided to write the third book on Bollywood. Being a resident of Mumbai, I found myself placed in a good situation to write on this theme. The year 2013 being the centenary year of Indian cinema made it just further more appropriate to write on Bollywood. I wanted to explore what goes into the making of films and therefore chose to base the book on directors, the film makers, who are so to say the pivots of the industry around whom the whole business revolves.
Q. The chatty conversations with the film makers made us know so much about the unusual lives of 15 Hindi movie makers. I am sure you would have got a better peep in their life, whom would you choose if you had to write a biography?
I prefer the short story format to lengthy biographies. Writing a tome about just one person is not up my street. My books are as much about concepts as they are about people, about collective journeys through which a comprehensive picture of certain aspects of our contemporary world emerges.
Q. How easy was it to approach the filmmakers? If someone plans to write a book based on people and conversations, what is your advice to them?
I believe if you have a sensible proposition and there is a certain amount of trust people place in you because of the work you have done so far, you will get success in what you have set out to do. That’s what I think worked for me and I am happy that with the support of the directors, the book came about the way I had visualized it.
My advice for those who want to write my kind of books will be to first focus on the key concept. Draw up a list of people who make the cut for that theme and then pursue the project with all your passion. Passion is critical here as you have to have a genuine love for interactions and meaningful conversations. In this cacophonic world, I think unhyped conversations through a book have the ability to clear the din and bring into focus what really matters.
Q. How difficult was it to interact with the filmmakers with their busy schedules and get them talking? Were your questions impromptu or well researched?
I am tempted to quote from Farah Khan’s latest super hit Happy New Year – “iji lagta hai, iji hai nahi”. Humour apart, I have to acknowledge that even though it was the first time I was meeting them, I was received very well by each of them. Once they made time for the meeting, they gave their 100% to it and were gracious enough to share candidly with me about their life and work. Remember they are all ace story tellers and that makes it doubly easy and joyful to be in conversation with them.
It goes without saying that a thorough research is a pre requisite for writing the books I do. So yes, I was well prepared to meet them and of course while the conversation progresses, there are bound to be some impromptu questions as well.
Q. Tell us something that’s not in the book! Anyone whom you wanted to include in the book but it did not go as planned?
What’s not in the book are some wonderful and timeless pictures that the directors shared with me, some more interesting anecdotes and insights which I plan to share over a period of time on my FB page.
I would have loved to cover more directors but you have to always define the timeline and scope of the book and hence only a certain number of stories can be done in one book. I would have liked to cover Raju Hirani and Aditya Chopra. I had initiated talks with them and it almost seemed that they would be part of the book but Raju’s hectic schedule because of PK couldn’t make it possible and over a period I learnt that Aditya Chopra is a reclusive and elusive kind of person.
That said, though more stories can be done but essentially the crux of film making comes across quite well with these 15 stories and more stories will only serve as variations.
Q. How would you decode Bollywood now after the book? Did it change any perspective about this glamorous industry?
I have started seeing Bollywood in a different light ever since I started working on this book. I gained valuable insights about how the industry functions, what relationships are at play, how the stories are very often a reflection of the director’s milieu, the business of films and several fine facts and nuances of the industry.
Q. What are you writing next? Any message for the newbie authors!
My next book is also based on interactions with a set of people woven around an interesting theme, a subject close to my heart. I would like to say just as much at this point in time.
For the aspiring authors – its one word PASSION that really matters. All else will follow.