Interviews

Good Housekeeping
good house keeping Interview with Good Housekeeping, a part of the India Today Group September 14, 2009   The diplomat-writer whose first book Q&A became the multiple Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, tells us about his latest - a whodunit - and why his children speak Hindi at home. We met up with him in Delhi before his next assignment in Osaka. My career beckons I grew up in Allahabad, in a family of lawyers. Everyone - my mother, father, uncle, aunt - did law. My mum said if anyone joins law, I'll kick him out of the house! I got into the Foreign Service because of my interest in international relations, and a desire to see the world.  Q&A is born I was an avid quizzer in school, and I was inspired by Kaun Banega Crorepati while I was posted in London. I wrote the book in 2003 in just two months, as a first draft! I'd go to the office, do my day's work (I was political counsellor in the High Commission), do my research in the evenings at home, and write on the weekends. One weekend, I wrote 20,000 words! Book vs film Sure, I've found flaws in the film. My book was about luck; the film is about destiny… My book was about someone who's unschooled whereas in the film the protagonist goes to school and learns about The Three Musketeers, which even I was not taught about! I would've been happier if they'd been more faithful to the book, especially the lead character Ram Mohammad Thomas. I wasn't comfortable with the riots part. I could've interfered - I had creative control, but the process was new to me. Now with Six Suspects, I'll take a closer look! Walking the red carpet Danny (Boyle) was keen that the entire team should be united for the Oscars. He said, 'I don't care if we win or lose, I just want all of us to be there, for the final party.' What amazed me is the number of doors Slumdog Millionaire opened - for Bollywood talent, for technicians from India. I went to the Oscars without a camera, with just a copy of my book, and simply by showing my book - that I'm the guy who wrote it - I met so many celebrities: Meryl Streep, Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Goldie Hawn, Jennifer Aniston. A grounded family My sons Aditya (17) and Varun (13) are basking in the glory! Every week, they bring a book their teacher wants autographed. But we're a grounded family. I can't imagine writing without my wife Aparna's support. She wasn't there (the family had moved back to India) when I wrote Q&A, but the fact that she was looking after the kids meant I could focus on my writing. We make it a point to speak to our children in Hindi. We'd had three postings abroad and Varun had almost started supporting England in cricket! So we moved back to India to make them conscious of their identity My latest: Six Suspects It's being written for film right now. I wrote it while I was in India. It's about the murder investigation of a young man, Vicky Rai, who himself was guilty of several crimes. There're six suspects: a bureaucrat, a politician, a thief, an American, a tribesman from the Andaman Islands, and a Bollywood actress. It's an interconnected story, with vignettes of India. The diplomat-writer whose first book Q&A became the multiple Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, tells us about his latest - a whodunit - and why his children speak Hindi at home. We met up with him in Delhi before his next assignment in Osaka. Courtesy: Good Housekeeping