“Stories can be our most priceless possession. We usually remember the most painful ones, or the most pleasurable. The past defines our present. There are many stories to tell, so many that they leap to my mind suddenly, just as I thought they were long forgotten, dead and buried.
To organise the stories and narrate them coherently, separately or all together in a book as a novel, is a writer’s skill and talent. Even if one were to fictionalise the stories — add fantasy, subtract reality — they are a reflection of one’s personality. Those who erase the past are fortunate, they do not carry the burden. At the same time, they lose an important part of themselves by going into denial mode.”
(p. 179 Om Puri “The kindness of strangers”)
Faction: Short stories by 22 film personalities is edited by Khalid Mohamed, someone who is very closely associated with the world of films — as a journalist, film critic, screenplay writer, director and playwright. As he says in his introduction that it is rare for actors to open up; “the level of intimacy desired is never reached”. In this book he has managed to achieve some of it. Obviously there is a sense of trust and confidence in Khalid Mohamed for the actors to share their thoughts, experiences and stories. Without really letting their guard down, the reader is privy to a very private corner of their life. What comes through is the respect that the actors have for their editor but also the simplicity and humility with which they have written.
Juhi Chawla’s moving essay about her fairy tale life, the loss of her mother in a car accident in Geneva and her brother who slipped into a coma four years ago. ( Sadly Bobby Chawla passed away last week.) Farah Khan remembering her childhood; likewise Karan Johar sharing his moments with Mr and Mrs Pinto, who taught him the fine art of public speaking or Bobby Deol reminiscing about Bhag Singh, his father’s shadow, and the family’s security blanket. Ashutosh Gowariker has a ghost story to narrate; two of the “love” stories that stand out were Akshay Kumar’s “Love on the 7:45am local”; Rishi Kapoor’s “Love in the time of telegrams” and Bollywood legend Ashok Kumar’s “A Calcutta Story”. Om Puri says it well that every story is a reflection of one’s personality. It is so true. The stories collected here seem to be as if the actor is whispering a personal story to the reader who is more like a confidante.
A beautiful collection of stories. They will linger with you long after you have closed the book.
List of Contents
Love on the 7.45 a.m. local AKSHAY KUMAR
New York days, New York nights ARJUN RAMPAL
A Calcutta story ASHOK KUMAR
Disbelieve it or not ASHUTOSH GOWARIKER
The window BASU CHATTERJEE
When the rains came BOBBY DEOL
Sleepless in the moonlight DEEPIKA PADUKONE
Guess who came to dinner FARAH KHAN
Almost a fairy tale till… JUHI CHAWLA
Speaking of Mr and Mrs Pinto KARAN JOHAR
Postcards from Paris MANOJ BAJPAYEE
And father created an actor NANA PATEKAR
The kindness of strangers OM PURI
Rugby paradiso RAHUL BOSE
The boy who didn’t laugh or cry RAM GOPAL VARMA
Affairs to remember RICHA CHADDA
Love in the time of telegrams RISHI KAPOOR
The gigolo SAI PARANJPYE
Elizabeth and Paul SHEKHAR KAPUR
Dear Kasim SHYAM BENEGAL
Girls’ night out SONAM KAPOOR
A day before the verdict VARUN DHAWAN
Khalid Mohamed ( ed.) Faction: Short stories by 22 film personalities Om Books International, Noida, 2013. Pb. pp. 300 Rs. 395
20 March 2014