Free Press Journal

Reading between the lines of the great celeb book circus


‘Methinks, the easiest thing in the world is to become a writer,’ Mark Twain rightly said. Hearing that Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter has also written an immensely forgettable book, Paradise Towers (published by Harper Collins, India) that has just hit the stands. A former matinee idol’s daughter is churning out books at regular intervals. I think all actors and actresses will soon follow suit. Both the women could prove to be good writers in future. I don’t deny or discount that; one mustn’t be so unkind as to write them off. But if the truth must be told, when ‘blank on top’ celebrities decide to become writers, they look for ghost writers and once the book is complete, they curry favour with the publishers, throw pre-launch parties and also rope in reviewers who write favourable reviews in exchange of a few greenbacks. Then the publishers send a few copies to book stores where such books gather dust till doomsday and no one buys them.

I remember, years ago, someone told me that a Hindi film actress wrote a book of poems. I took it from a friend of mine and couldn’t proceed further after reading a few juvenile and schmaltzy poems. She wrote that all poems were original but I found them heavily influenced by Sachidanand Hiranand Vatsyayan ‘Agye’ and Dharmveer Bharti. That she at least read them is worth lauding!

My point is, why on earth do they try to write in the first place? When you read actors’ blogs and tweets, you realise how awfully most of them express themselves. Writing leaves a permanent legacy. These failed actors and celebrities know that there’s no way they can be remembered by posterity. So they become writers. And I’m sure, even their family members don’t read their books.

Writing is a passion. It doesn’t come overnight. One has to sweat it out. When Hollywood heart-throb Errol Flynn wrote his uninhibited autobiography, ‘My wicked, wicked ways’, he didn’t forget to acknowledge his friend’s contribution in completely rewriting it. His friend was a professor of English at Illinois University, who requested Flynn never to mention his name. People from show-biz can seldom write. Granted, there could be exceptions. But they are exceptions. And when ‘they write, they rape with pen(i)s’ (Rex Harrison, Oxford educated Hollywood actor, who essayed the role of Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady and also acted in Krishna Shah’s Indo-American film Shalimar in 1977).

Errol Flynn

You may have noticed how inarticulate most of them are while talking. It’s called ‘show-biz’ or ‘model syndrome’. Most models are so self-obsessed and narcissistic that when it comes to acting and delivering dialogues, they get tongue-tied. Moreover, it’s the latest fad to write a book (known as Chetan Bhagat Syndrome), no matter who writes it for you. You ought to have at least a couple of books to your credit. Then only can you be called ‘socially arrived’. All social butterflies introduce themselves as writers, to boot! This amuses me. I have come across people who boast of writing 15-20 books and they condescendingly ask me how many I have written, as if churning out books is the easiest thing in the world. And if you bother to have a look at the books written by any Tom, Dick and Harry, you will instantaneously understand that all books are completely based on downloaded material with a few changes here and there. That’s the reason, one modern age ‘spiritual guru’ writes minimum two fat volumes every year. No one reads. So no one can detect plagiarism in any book. It’s of no consequence whether or not your books are read. What matters most is how many you produce from your never-ending and ever active factory. After all, numbers count. Don’t they?

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