I AM A WORD-O-HOLIC
Rajashree’s diploma film for FTII won her a National Award. Her book, Trust Me, a romantic comedy set in Bollywood, has just hit the shelves. Author Kiran Nagarkar recommends reading her ‘if you want to know how your daughter or girlfriend thinks’. Behind the lens, in front of the computer, Rajashree is making magic. And ME is watching! Meet Rajashree:
I worked on film sets; I lived life queensize. I dare say I was happy, high on the champagne of life. All the while, something lashed inside me like waves at high tide. I recognized it as the urge to write.
I began jotting down the story of a drug addict. I did not drink even tea or coffee, so getting it to feel real wasn’t easy. Around this time, a neighbour of mine began telling me about her own experience. Someone had ditched her. Though a boy was now interested in her, she could not bring herself to trust him. The story grew on me; I began to write Trust Me, a romantic comedy set in the Mumbai film industry. The book, a Rupa release, is on the stands. It was the greatest feeling to see it voted no 1 on the Afternoon bestseller list. I went to a Nizami Brothers concert the day it was released .They were singing a beautiful bhajan by Kabir. It went something like, “Man lago mero yaar fakiri mein”. I felt released, free. Like I had let go of my novel, like a diya on a leaf-boat I’d released in a river. Or many, many diyas which are floating down, waiting for other people to pick them up, waiting to make them laugh and cry.
MY LOVE FOR THE MOVIES
Films have been a passion ever since I can remember. I once stood five hours in a queue to see Sholay.
In pursuit of my passion, I went to the Film and Television Institute of India. (FTII) Pune, for a diploma in Direction. My diploma film at the Institute won a National Award. It was screened at some film festivals, too.
At the first screening of the film, there were just 12 people. It broke my heart to see the low turnout. I got together with a few friends and tried to figure out how we could raise the enthusiasm quotient of the people. An idea hit me. We began painting posters on old newspapers with the cheapest paint we could find in red, to signify The Rebel, the title of the film. The next show was House Full!
WRITING: IT’S A PASSIONATE AFFAIR
Writing is, no doubt, my passion. Actually, putting my bottom to chair and pen to paper is anything but easy. I think every writer has experienced this: for the first few days, when the idea is fresh, you and your book are like new lovers who can’t keep their hands off each other. Slowly, but inevitably, you become like a much-married couple, who do care about each other, but the passion ebbs. I didn’t want that to happen, so I decided to take a disciplined approach to my writing.
I rented a flat near Aarey. My room overlooked miles of greenery, and inspired me to keep thinking fresh thoughts. I put up a chart in my room, logging hours of work, and awarding myself a green star for targets accomplished and red mark for failure to do five hours of writing. It worked for me.
But from time to time, I needed a break from the room (as I am sure do the most passionate of lovers!). So I took off on travels to Dharamsala, Pune, Nagpur – all this while furiously writing.
I gave myself six months to complete the novel. Of course, the six months stretched into one year, and then two. When I ran out of money, my mother supported me. It wasn’t great for my ego, but I was desperate to type the word END.
Yes, writing is so much about passion. It is like a sadhana, much more a vocation than a profession.
SOULMATE – SEARCHING
I’m single. I want to fall in love. With my soulmate. And with a story. For a film or a novel. A story that will sweep me off my feet and compel me to drink, breathe, love it till it finds its final shape.
MY OTHER LOVES
I love reading. Bridget Jones and Women Who Run With The Wolves are all-time favourites on my reading list.
I love dancing, too. Once I get into the groove, I can dance till morning. And I can lose myself in the beauty of Nature for hours, days, a whole lifetime. There is no poetess, no artist quite like her, is there?