Yup. That's what I think. For those not in the loop, Om Puri's wife Nandita, has written her husband's biography, aptly titled 'Unlikely Hero' , which is to be officially launched tomorrow ( could be tonight, I've thrown the invitation card away). I read an excerpt in Tehelka last week and was pretty surprised. I also read Nandita's interview and ... and ... was not surprised. Nandita has always come across as a pushy, ambitious person with a 'star complex'. I recall meeting her when she first came to Mumbai from Kolkata and called herself a journalist. Next thing I knew she had married Om. And from that moment on, her life changed irrevocably. From parallel cinema and art house films, Om made it to international movies via a shrewd agent who knew how to market one of India's most talented actors. Om was busier overseas than in Bollywood. He started making good money. Which was fantastic given his really miserable beginnings with a destitute mother who often didn't have even small change to feed the boy.
Okay. That's enough as a backgrounder.... now here comes the asli story. In an 'angry' interview to a tabloid this morning, Om has expressed his rage and shock at some of the revelations in his wife's book. Especially the ones that recount his sexual exploits with a series of maids, starting with Shanti and moving on to Laxmi. He has accused Nandita of 'reducing a sacred part' of his life 'to cheap and lurid gossip.' He claims he was not aware of the contents of the book and that his wife did not allow him to read the manuscript. He adds he doesn't want to be in the same league as a Shiney Ahuja. Nandita's response has been equally spirited , while admitting her husband is 'livid'. She says - and it sounds like a well thought through quotable quote - "My book on my husband is a biography, not bloody pornography!" Saccch????
If the miya-biwi jhagda in print and across tv channels is indeed real, and Om was completely in the dark about the contents of the book, there is just one acid test left - will Om show up for the launch and promote this 'cheap and lurid' effort?? Will he participate in all the related marketing activities?? And most importantly - will he stay married to a woman he claims has betrayed his trust and exploited him? His sign off line in an interview is pretty telling - " Please don't be discreet. Has she exercised any discretion in talking about my personal experiences? The final decision to put up my life as a tamasha was Nandita's. I can't forgive her."
Over to you, Nandita.... and good look with the book launch. I'm sure you have your sound bytes ready......