Rags to riches

How does an artist overcome the difficulties of his everyday existence to write, paint or perform?

How does an artist create when he/she is constantly worried about where their next cheque will come from? How do you paint or write when you’re always hungry? Would a steady flow of money help an artist to be more creative? How does an artist overcome the difficulties of his day-to-day existence to write or paint or perform? These were the questions that author Mohan Deep wanted to examine in his latest novel, Color Me Rich.

His protagonist, Akash Saigal is a blend of all the struggling artists Mohan has met. Of Akash, his creator says, “My protagonist is an artist, a painter, but he could have been a struggling writer or an actor or a singer too. I was a student of architecture for four years when I dropped out, as I found writing and journalism fascinating. But I got acquainted with some painters, as Jehangir Art Gallery and Samovar was where we would go after bunking classes.”

Mohan’s last novel, The Five Foolish Virgins, covered a span of 60 years (from 1947 to 2013) in its narrative. Color Me Rich is far more concise. “It is free from the long narratives that go with novels, and is reader-friendly. I’ve written this for the present generation that is hooked on 140 characters of tweets and smaller Facebook posts,” the writer explains.

Why the switch in styles from his last book to this one? “Well, a novel today is competing for attention with movies (and more movies are being made today than before!), YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, so many other websites, hundreds of TV channels. Gone are the days when you rested with a novel in the afternoon. This is the time of books that can be read on tablets, mobiles, and the Kindle,” says Mohan.

Incidentally, when filmmaker Shirish Kunder launched the Kindle version of Color Me Rich, he had hinted that the plot bears an eerie resemblance to the Hema Upadhyay murder case. Mohan only tells us that his protagonist Akash is “accused of killing his extremely rich painter wife, Zenobia”. However, “the issue is not only about his guilt or innocence. The story is about the characters. It is a sensitive love story,” he adds.

Color me rich by Mohan Deep Quest Mercury Intermedia Private Limited pp. 189, Rs 200Color me rich by Mohan Deep Quest Mercury Intermedia Private Limited pp. 189, Rs 200

In penning his tale — especially in depicting the lifestyles of the rich and famous, Mohan drew on his experiences as a journalist and Feng Shui master. “As a journalist, you may travel by buses and cabs, but you attend lavish parties in five-star hotels and get acquainted with the rich. I am a Feng Shui master and some of my clients too are quite rich. Nevertheless, I had to do some amount of research into their lifestyle. Having rich friends helps!” Mohan tells us.

For his next book, a thriller, Mohan is looking to Bollywood as the backdrop. How does he come up with his plots? “It all happens in your head first. I may be taking a shower or driving or simply half asleep when a thought or an idea may occur. I may note a cue somewhere — on the scribble pad square of a crossword while in the loo — or in the notes section of my iPhone or on a notebook on my desk,” says Mohan.

Then come days of writing on his iPhone, followed by some time on his PC for the final stages of the writing process. As for writer’s block, Mohan shrugs off the phenomenon. “I am cool about it,” he says. “Having started writing in longhand in Sindhi in the seventies, I have been writing for decades. There are good days and there are bad days.”

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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