Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Royalty and Other Fictional Characters

Who on earth thought of this cruel term called royalty? There is nothing royal about it. It is bloody unfair to term the few coins we authors make (when someone buys our book) as royalty. It just creates false impressions. Just makes it hard to be an author.

Does anyone here know JK Rowling? She is the one who added being a wizard as a career choice for many an unsuspecting kid. She has done something similar for other Muggles too. She has inspired many people to take up writing as a profession. So what are her own credentials? Impressive. Her personal wealth of £545 million, gets her to rank as thirteenth richest woman in Britain. In 2006, Forbes named Rowling the second-richest female entertainer in the world.

One of these newspapers that I was reading told me that not very long ago, her lifestyle was like mine. In those days neither of us was a billionaire. I still kept my part of the promise. She went ahead and became rich. Authors are never rich. So what's the secret?

Whenever I tell someone that I have written a book, they always look at me and turn green. What do you do with all that royalty, they ask. I have to keep up the pretense. It is all about the image of being a billionaire author (I mean, JK Rowling is one). I guess I can't blame these guys. If people know that you get paid in the form of "ROYALTY", it is logical that your readers expect you to have a lifestyle of the rich and famous. It is too much pressure.

My friends need to know this. I get royalty when someone BUYS my book. Yet each of those fellows will come up and ask me for a free copy. What is this about insisting on a free copy of my book? My boss wants one, my colleague wants one. I go to a party and the host introduces me as an author and then all the bloody guests want a free copy. So if you want to know how my book made it to the bestseller lists, I bought most of them to gift to my friends, relatives and colleagues. I have to sneak in to my neighborhood book store and buy a few copies at a time so that when someone asks for a copy - oh yeah... another one of those misers who will not support a struggling author - I have to gift him or her one of those copies.

My colleagues are cruel. Last week when everyone was being given out their annual increment letters, some jealous guy went and told my boss that I did not need the pay rise. My boss too just shook hands with me and said pretty sheepishly, "You are a rich author. You get paid in royalty. I know this salary is just your pocket money Abbey. So... no... I won't embarrass myself by giving you a raise." It is hard being an author.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Letter from Kaushik Roy - the Director of Apna Asmaan

Hey Abhijit, great reading your bit about Apna Asmaan in your blog. Wanted to post this there but realised that this to long. May be you have a way of doing it.

The sad truth is that after having got 80% to 100% over the weekend the film is almost out starting next Friday. Almost because it will continue in some obscure morning and afternoon shows. Why? Because people who love different kind of films actually don't get off their butt to see the films that they want through the week. They then say "Oh no... it's gone? How sad... We will watch it on DVD ... chalo DVD dekh lenge (चलो डीवीडी देख लेंगे)"Now here's the catch... DVDs are not like books - at least not yet. You can't market a DVD till it has hit the theatres and has qualified to be called cinema. So we are the biggest enemies of good cinema because we are not like the die hard fans of commercial cinema. Those guys queue up to create what is called an OPENING WEEKEND. But we have have our cocktails and dinners to do over the weekend... and may be a bit of Golf? But then what the hell...there are DVDs right?

So all those who wanted to see India's next Omar Shariff - Abhijit Bhaduri in Apna Asmaan, have a choice: they can prove it that you love different / non Bollywoody films and go to see Apna Asmaan in large numbers for those early morning shows. Or be the cocktail circuit supporter and pick up a DVD. If not me, Saregama will make money!

Abhijit, you have been a great support. There's a 1.20pm (thank God not am) show at Gurgaon PVR. Why don't you do a little viral across your HR community in Gurgaon to get them to see AA during lunch? It's just a 2 hr outing that will make everybody feel nicer when they get back to work. Good HR policy - believe me!

Cheers -

PS: Nabomita sends me this great link on Kaushik's art collection. Click Here

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Apna Asmaan - Now In Theatres Near You

Sometime back I have blogged here about my acting in a movie. The movie has now got released under the name Apna Asmaan अपना आसमान। Yesterday was the premier of the film at PVR Saket, New Delhi. The film also has Rajat Kapoor (remember the pedophile character in Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding) and Anupam Kher in some interesting scenes.

This is a film is directed by my ex-colleague from Mudra Communication, Kaushik Roy. Kaushik belongs to a family of film makers (he is the nephew of the legendary Bimal Roy - of Madhumati fame. (The director of Do Bigha Zameen, Madhumati, Devdas etc) That by the way is a photo of Kaushik trying to throttle me on the sets. Irrfan and Shobna (My God, she has pretty eyes) have played the lead roles. In one of the scenes, Irrfan is taunting his young colleague that he is "an M-B-A ... Mediocre But Arrogant, as in the novel".

Times of India says, "This one is a must for all parents who push their kids too hard."
Check out this photo from the shoot. Never published before on any site.

More about this film on other posts. Will try and get an interview with Kaushik for the blog. So watch the space for more.The story of Apna Asmaan was inspired by Kaushik's younger son Orko, who is mildly autistic and has just recently completed his first exhibition of paintings. Orko is a fabulous artist and you will see many of his paintings in the film. In fact the film opens with a shot of Orko drawing animals. He loves to draw buffalos.

Left to right: Kaushik Roy, Harsh Kulkarni, Abhijit Bhaduri, Irrfan (green kurta), Mini (who is the chief camera person Barun-da's daughter) and Abhishek.