Let's Talk: with Advaita Kala, Novelist & Screenwriter (Almost Single, Anjaana Anjaani & Kahaani)


Advaita Kala

Her book ‘Almost Single’ struck a chord with the readers and eventually became a best-seller. The book portrayed a brilliant character ‘Aisha Bhatia’. Then came the year 2012, and we saw another portrayal of a woman Vidya Bagchi, this time in a full-length Bollywood Film  (Kahaani) manifesting her vigour, uprightness and a very strong character received accolades from all over.

Advaita Kala, the best-selling author of Almost Single and Script-Writer of Anjaana Anjaani and critically-acclaimed film Kahaani talks to us about her books, movies and above all, her Kahaani.

Advaita kala's work

  • Let’s Talk:

Team Word Bite: You recently published an article on identifying the multiple aggressors that pose a threat to the freedom of expression in this country and itwas really appreciated. Tell us something about it.

Advaita Kala:  Well, I have been increasingly concerned about the growing threats to freedom of expression and it is an issue that as a writer, I feel the need to engage with on a sustained basis. We are a very diverse country and its hard to imagine a time when people will not be offended, however we have to draw some sort of line, try and figure out what is provocative for the sake of being so, and what is objectionable because it appeals to a certain section of society to deem it objectionable. It’s a pivotal time right now, in terms of how we are going to proceed and what kind of creative environment we are creating. My series of columns are an exploration of this and an attempt to keep the conversation going.

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TWB: Being in a hospitality industry for over long time, what inspired you to write Almost Single and when did you decide to really sit yourself down and start writing?

AK: Well I am fortunate to have multiple passions and hospitality is one of them. It gave me a skill at a time when I frankly had none and for that I am grateful. Even now when things are going well, I still feel that if it comes to it, I can always go back to working in a hotel and support myself. But on a serious note, Almost Single was a story waiting to be told and I just had to sit down and do it, which is what I did. I have always written, its just that this was the first thing that escaped and got out in the public domain.

TWB: You also did a movie Anjaana Anjaani and the highly acclaimed and successful Kahaani. So being a traveler, how did you reach Bollywood?

AK: everything I have done has been very organic, one thing led to another. No strategy at all, just going with my curiosity. I did the first film because I was curious about writing for film. The second happened as a consequence of the first and I wanted to see if it was possible to pull off a thriller, a genre very different from the one I was known for. So really my career strategy has quite simple been curiosity.

TWB: The protagonists in Anjana Anjaani or in Kahaani all are shown as travelers in search of something. So is there any link between these characters and Advaita Kala, since you being an extensive traveler.

AK: Wow, that’s a good catch. Yes I am constantly seeking, I really don’t know what. But it’s a big part of who I am and I guess that’s what keeps me writing as well. This intense need to figure things out, to figure myself out, other people. It keeps me engaged with living. So yes, maybe my characters are on journeys much in the way that I am.

TWB: In one of his interviews, Parambrata Chatterjee said, “Kahaani already has two heroes, Vidya and Kolkata. I’m the film’s heroine”, comment on it.

AK: Ha, ha he won’t be the first male character in a work of mine to have felt secondary to the female lead! But that’s going to change my next two films are male centric!

TWB: Do you see Almost Single turning out to be a movie?

AK: Maybe but it’s not really something I think about or am working on.

TWB: Writing a Screenplay or writing a novel, what is more enjoyable to you?

AK: Honestly it’s the same, the pay offs are very different. Though I would like to get to work on my novel now.

TWB: Do you ever imagine yourself writing something with a male point of view?

AK: Yes!

TWB: What is your opinion on referring to a literary piece of work for e.g. Almost Single and Kahaani as Woman-Centric?

AK: I don’t define my work, others do, it’s their perception. I think they are both interesting stories. J

TWB: Your future projects……

AK: A television show on Star Plus, going on air very soon.

  • Rapid Fire

 

TWB: Vidya Balan as Vidya Bagchi in Kahaani or Priyanka Chopra as Kiara in AnjaanaAnjaani

AK: Ha-ha! They are both special ladies and just very nice, warm human beings who give their best to a film and characters. Frankly I take it as a compliment that two of the finest actresses in our industry have worked on my films.

 TWB: Your favorite Indian Author/Authors

AK: Vikram Seth, Ruskin Bond, Aravind Adiga, endless list

TWB: Your favorite Foreign Author/Authors

AK: Too many to name

TWB: Describe yourself in three words

AK: Work in progress

TWB: Quote something about The WordBite with a message…

AK: A prayer for the wild at heart trapped in cages – Tennessee Williams

TWB: Thank you! for giving us your valuable time and we hope so that your coming projects will be accepted, appreciated by one and all and eventually become a huge success. Good Luck. 🙂

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