Sunday, September 5, 2010

How to pen a masala memoir...

This appeared in Sunday Times...

Tony Blair has done the full monty… well, almost! Don’t we just love it!! At last, a memoir that hits all the wrong notes and the right spots! Deliciously candid, outrageously readable and mercifully, indiscreet! Thank God for Blair’s political incorrectness. This is the stuff good masala memoirs are made of. And fortunately for hungry readers there’s one brave man out there willing to let it all hang out…. err… literally. Now that Britain’s ex- prime minister has informed the world about his boudoir conduct ( “ I was an animal in the bedroom,”), perhaps it won’t be too much to ask his wife Cherie to write her version titled “There’s a tiger in my bed.” He goes on to brag that women find politicians irresistible since power is an aphrodisiac. He merrily justifies what he calls a ‘free bird impulse’ to have affairs, adding, “ There is a moment of encounter, so exciting, so naughty, so lacking in self control…” it provides a thrill that is like ‘‘an explosion of irresponsibility.” Is this a grown man blathering on about male sexual fantasies or a frisky schoolboy salivating and leching in a girl’s dorm ? It hardly matters. The book is likely to sell millions of copies and find zillions of takers for the juvenile justifications it offers on matters sexual and political. It should be read in the same spirit it has been written – come on, Tony is entitled to reveal all. It’s his book. Statecraft meets the Kamasutra meets Lady Chatterley’s Lover - that adds up to a whopping, international bestseller! What’s the bet his publisher has also become an animal, in and out of the bedroom? By the time the numbers roll in, there may be a veritable zoo in Blair’s boudoir.His take on statecraft and bodycraft are both equally engaging, equally shallow. But it is refreshing as hell to come across a 700 page tome that goes beyond affairs of the state and jauntily jumps into risqué territory – sexual affairs. Blair’s own passionate ‘affair’ – no, not with Princess Diana - but the very unlikely George Bush, may arouse hoots of derision in political circles, but it’s pretty rare for a politician to stick his neck out and stand by an old ally when the rest of the world has discarded the person. Going by the published excerpts, Blair and Bush were a little like Tom and Jerry or Laurel and Hardy playing war games.They rode into Iraq together and the world has never been the same again.
Memoirs work best when the person writing them is confident( or foolish) enough to tell all. If Blair admits that there was a stage during is prime minister ship when he was dealing with a G&T ( Gin and tonic) problem, often knocking back a stiff drink, along with half a bottle of wine over dinner, the revelation makes him far more human. If he confesses his attraction for the ‘People’s Princess’, but qualifies that her ‘emotional wildness’ scared him off ( even though he saw a bit of himself in her ‘manipulative nature’), one can completely get it. It is nuggets like these that are likely to make this a truly modern memoir, and therefore appealing to the aam janata across the world. Some of the anecdotes are amusing and cute – like the time Britain’s Queenie herself got down to doing the dishes at Balmoral , after slipping her royal hands into a pair of rubber gloves. It is a vivid and amazing image – can you imagine a single wealthy woman in India undertaking this humble, after dinner chore? And here, Blair is talking about his Queen – one of the richest individuals in the world. He claims three years out of office have given him time to reflect on his government. It has also given him the opportunity to trash rivals and his successor, Gordon Brown in particular. Bechara Brown is dismissed as a ‘strange guy’, someone low on ‘emotional intelligence’. There goes Brown’s female constituency!Blair watchers should see ‘The Ghost Writer’, a movie in which the former James Bond, Pierce Brosnon, plays a thinly disguised version of Tony Blair penning his controversial memoirs.It had generated a lot of controversy when it was released… with good reason. It was a pretty telling film that followed a ghost writer’s scarey experiences when he stumbles on secrets that eventually cost the fictitious prime minister his life.The most shocking suggestion in the movie was that the British prime minister had become a total stooge of the American President, going so far as to suggest that the P.M.’s ambitious wife was an American agent ready to sell the country down the drain. Sensibly, the Blairs had ignored the film. Another movie titled ‘The Queen’ , had also projected Blair in an entirely unflattering light, showing him as a vain and self serving prime minister who cared only about his own image and little else. Blair ignored this one, too.
India emerges glowing away in Blair’s racy book and he has given the country a generous pat on the back (“… a shining example of a large nation, still developing, that manages to be democratic.”). Oh well… just for giving us that rather naïve certificate for good conduct, let us invite Tony to launch his book here. We can treat the Blairs to a special screening of ‘Peepli { Live}’ just to give them an idea of India’s experiments with democracy.

*************

Blogdosts, I am faced with a vexing question and need your help. I hate the idea of using this space for any kind of hard sell. A blog is not a classified ad. Now.... here's the tricky part - I have a new book that is going to hit the market shortly. Do you want me to keep you in the loop about the launch dates, reviews, and other events associated with a fresh title? Would you like me to share interviews, quotes, posters and other details here - if I promise not to indulge in over kill? Be totally honest, okay?? Frankly, I am very excited and would love to tell all . It is a special book and the cover is looking good. The trade has shown a lot of pre-release interest. But that is another story. This is as much your space as it is mine. I leave the verdict in your capable hands. As you are aware, this is not a monetized blog and I am not about to sell out. So relax! The views expressed here are entirely independent. Which is why I love this space and respect your opinions. Haan.... ya, na?

Mission statement made! Over to you....

40 comments:

Appu said...

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Haan
Haan
Haan
And where are our passes if you wish to invite or if we wish to come ;-)

obssesor said...

I think one post would suffice!

goodluck said...

Why not? Go ahead. But add something on other topics as well at the end. That is where the real masala lies.

Shaina said...

A VERY BIG HAAAAAAAN!!!! Been looking forward to your book since an age now...yipeeee finallyyyyy :)

Latha said...

Gung ho. go ahead. Share all er..whatever you feel is okay to share. A book is always welcome. That too of Shobhaa De.
It's amazing that you finished the Blair book (700 pages, wow) in a couple of days. I've been looking at reviews after you mentioned about it in your previous blog & the reviews were quite dry, all political which put me to sleep. They were all far far away from your review which makes it look like a masala Bollywood flick where you have it all. Anyways I don't think I'll lay my hands on it for quite sometime. (Here in the US books cost a fortune unlike in India)
Your command over the English language has been laudable unless when you make careless mistakes like 'is prime minister ship' when it should read his Prime Ministership (single word). Happens, when somebody reads a 700 page book in 2 days & keeps up with the blog at the same time. Moreover your obsession with the ship is understandable.
Awaiting news about your new book. Cheero.

NAT said...

Yes, Yes & Yes......

Sure go ahead it is your space.

Cheers!

Norman

Chandana said...

yes please! Is it releasing in Canada as well?

Sachin Shitole said...

Surely Yes....
We would love to hear whatever you say, coz you say it in a really touching way.

kanch said...

Please don't publicize your book here. You will not be able to be
ruthlessly honest as you usually are.

Sameer said...

Shobhaa,

Big YES from the US of A...would love to read abt. this new book and all the happenings with it...tuzhya interviews chya gamati jamati paN kaLav...and may be with some pics. and all.....so ho...ho....ho....

Love :)
Sameer

jaya said...

BIG YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Radhika Gupta said...

hi shobhaa... i recently read an article in hindu that said Queen was not so pleased with the mention of the royal family links by tony blair in the book... u didn't mention it in ur post...
As far as ur book is concerned... A big YESSSSS from me as well...go ahead!!!

Shashi said...

This column sucks!! Read Maureen Dowd's column and learn something Ms DE

Crystal Clear Thinking said...

Yes do publish material related to the book ...would love to know more about it a big yes...

Aro said...

hi shobha.....well this might be a little odd but i am a btech student frm kerala and i am someone who would love to improve my own writing ..
http://frmdaashes.blogspot.com/
http://aro-freespirit.blogspot.com/

these are ma two blogs i would be really grateful if u just go through and tell me where to improve and all ...
thanks Aro

Jean said...

its a space where we love to read what you write. so why not the review of your new books with the details??

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anush said...

you could add a page to the same blog and post for all your new ventures there.

cheers!

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Theyoginme said...

A big YES.. how can anyone of your blog friends say no to the real thing... :)

tanushree said...

just one correction..... the movie 'the queen' did not portray tony blair in an unflateering light..quite the opposite...it was a movie that was released during tony blair's downfall...so it served as a reminder of thed ays people had a lot of faith in him and expected great things from him...

Pratap said...

Yes, please.
I'd like to know more about the latest book.
And I trust you to not overstep the line into hard sell.

Pooja Rathore said...

yes ! The book is for all then u must see to that you use every medium possible so that people get to know about your book. I dont see anything wrong ,dont bother about what is right or wrong just go by the truth of your heart ( rely on your intution and dont be influenced by others).
Waiting to know about your book on this blog!

Pooja Rathore said...

start on 7th is ideal and lucky too for u!Because according to tarot 7 number means taking your firststeps( with regard to your goals) and your guides and allies will be at your side to help you on your way.All the best Ma De!

RAJ47 said...

Hi Shobhaa,
Yes, ofcourse we want you to share it all with us.
Infact you should give a free copy to all your loyal blogdosts.
Thanking you in anticipation.

cmpershad said...

How to open? O pen the pen for glare on blair :)

Elle Woods said...

Did you get a "NA" at all ?? haha.. haan haan haan bhai haan ! :)

*Aham* said...

your books are a part of you. and everything thats a part of you, how could you not speak of it in your blog.

de, i toh love reading all about you. Shotti!


************************************

Tony blair is going blare. every one loves reading about bizzare life brazenly told with loads of sexpedes and libido talk.

Britan Circles must be going bonkers about their prime minister opening his bedroom curtains.

and back home, we wonder if our politicos have it. I mean, imagine what drama happened over Indira Gandhi and Nehru's biographies. aiyyo!

we have too much fire under our bellies, just that we are too shy and too hypocritical to share the heat.

we seem to be a nation of erectile dysfunction.

well, big boss ko bulaana padegaa!

avidblogger said...

Of course a big HAAAAAN !!! Awaiting most eagerly the arrival of your new book. Will it be available in the USA? Please give all details and in case there are any video links to any interviews, please post those too. Is there no way you can put video files on your blog where you talk about your book. Likes of me dont live in India and dont have access to Indian TV channels?

Namrata said...

Hey Shobhaa :)

We would love to read some of the excerpts here! Also, I would love to see the cover and some posters. I am an aspiring design student and I really want to see how they've been done.

All the very best for the book release.

Sweta said...

Ofcourse Shobha....
keep us in loop...
we want to know about your new book....
best of luck for the launch... :)

gb said...

You must give brief synopsis of your book for the benefit of your readers. You should give critical analysis of your book as an indipendent critique as u do with books of others. that will do justice to the book. come on....go ahead.

pmathur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pmathur said...

All said and done - it IS your blog, and I don't see anything wrong in sharing a little about your new book. There are a lot of us who visit your blog page regularly, and it would be nice to -in a sense - 'be a part of the book release/launch'

Jyostna said...

YESSSSSSSSSS of course

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