A spicy, saucy tell-all tale it is

KHALID MOHAMED
Published Nov 17, 2013, 5:56 pm IST
Updated Jan 10, 2016, 8:38 am IST
Suchitra Krishnamoorthi’s autobiography is a brutally honest and unapologetic account of her life without star props .

There’s nothing like a tell-all tale: an insider spilling the beans about the secrets and lies behind closed doors. It’s a genre of writing that’s as common as cheeseburgers in Hollywood. Out here in Bollywood, no way! It’s just not done. Forget the ensuing court cases, the denials and plain outrage. Believe it or faint, we tend to be relatively more tight-lipped about scenes witnessed at close quarters.

Now, you may say there was a scurrilous, unauthorised paperback on Rekha, and a dekko on the traumas faced by Meena Kumari, who passed away at the age of 40 in 1972. True, but no wives, girlfriends, star secretaries or even tormented sons and daughters have encashed upon their lives spent in the B-town Paradiso. Wonderful!  So if someone in filmbiz does chronicle his or her experiences, it makes sense to follow the path of restraint and good taste.

 

Now, Suchitra  Krishnamoorthi has done just that with Drama Queen. It could have been an explosive bomb of a book. Instead it’s a sparkling phooljhadi, more fun than nerve-jangling. Her divorce from the way older, globe-whizzing actor-turned-director, Shekhar Kapur, does yield some barbed comments but the 228 pages aren’t about their romance or break-up at all. It’s about her. Or about exorcising the angels and demons within her, at the expense of being nakedly honest about her phases of emotional turbulence.

Yes, she submitted herself to sessions with a shrink. She was rude with her overconcerned mother, nasty with her Jimmy Choo designer friends. And she hit on a cool-looking, already married dude under the influence of champagne. Quite unapolgetically, she thirsted for a new man in her life so she could hug someone who didn’t have breasts! And it’s all written with a chatty Bridget Jones-like candour.

In her own right, Drama Queen is an actress, singer, painter and candle-maker, not to forget the gutsy combat she has initiated with a bank for ditzing with her investments. Mercifully, she doesn’t crow about her first movie hero Shah Rukh Khan in 'Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa'. Most mortals would have sprinkled SRK anecdotes to garner readership. Naah, no star props needed.

Rather, Suchitra Krishnam-oorthi mocks herself, recounting encounters with Ram Gopal Varma and Karan Johar, both of whom she proposed marriage to. Varma responded with a brief, embarrassed meeting in his office, Karan dismissed the overture with a hilarious wisecrack.

Result: no remarry-go-round for her in Bollywood, at least. The other eligible candidate turns out to be her long-time Scrabble partner, who flies her to Bangkok, his intentions swerving from the Platonic to Seduction, Emraan Hashmi-style. Inevitably, in the midst of her man-hunt, she is often seized by guilt pangs but what the hell! It’s her life, as long as she isn’t damaging others.

With clarity, Suchitra Krishnamoorthi recalls her growing-up years in Mumbai’s genteel Hyderabad House colony, occupied by the top government cadre. From the outset  her father, an income-tax officer, was a darling. Her mother, a vigilante cop,wasn’t. So it’s the coming to terms with a tough mamma, her giddy girlpals, and a singleton’s life that makes hers an absorbing story.

Here’s a woman who was on the edge, but bounced back to smile happily ever after with her daughter Kaveri.

No facile answers there. But I do feel that she’s authored a crackerjack of a book — spicy, saucy and searching. Suchitra Krishnamoorthi has found herself, sane and sorted, in a la-la land.

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