You would remember him as Suhas Tandon, the money minded fiance of Kareena Kapoor in the 2009 blockbuster – 3 Idiots. But there’s more to Olivier Sanjay Lafont than just acting. From writing scripts to modelling, he’s done it in all in a career spanning more than a decade.
We have him here for a short tete-a-tete to understand what all goes behind excelling in so many forms of creative expressions.
Aseem: Actor, Writer, Screenplay Writer, Director, Producer, Model, Voice-over Artist – You seem to be doing it all. How do you manage it? Which of these creative hats do you find the most challenging? Olivier: I’m mainly guided by my passion and interests, so my career evolves fairly organically and effortlessly. To me all these are different aspects of a single passion: storytelling. So they all actually fit together quite naturally in my life.
In the same vein, none is more challenging than the other, really. I just do what’s most interesting to me, and do the best I can at it.
Shobhan Bantwal is the author of six novels and co-author of two anthologies. Her books combine contemporary women’s issues with romantic elements. Her articles have appeared in The Writer, Romantic Times, India Abroad, Little India, New Woman and India Currents. Her short fiction has won her honours & awards in contests sponsored by Writer’s Digest and New York Stories. She won the First Place Award in New Woman magazine’s 2005 Short Fiction Competition for her story, Lingering Doubts. Her debut book, The Dowry Bride, won the 2008 Golden Leaf Award. The Unexpected Son won the 2012 National Indie Excellence Award. Shobhan lives in Arizona, USA.
And today, we have her here for a short tete-a-tete –
Aseem: What does writing mean to you? Shobhan: Writing is almost a spiritual experience for me because I put my heart and soul into each story. The characters I create for each book temporarily come into my life like family, friends, or neighbours. Many of my characters also possess the traits of people I know, some of them intimately. The wonderful thing about fiction is that one can express just about anything via one’s characters that would not go over as well in non-fiction or speech.
Atulya Mahajan is an Indian author and is the creator of the Indian satire blog amreekandesi.com. Professionally a technologist in an investment bank, Atulya Mahajan went to the US in 2004 to complete his Master’s degree. He worked there for five years and then returned to India. He started his blog while studying in the US and used it as a platform to share his experiences of people living in a foreign land. Besides this blog, Mahajan also works with the Crest Edition of The Times of India as a columnist and writes occasional humor.
Aseem: So now that you have reached the big league of celebrities, how does it feel? :D Are people running to you for autographs? Atulya: It feels awesome. You know, I go to Big Bazaar and they give me a free hamper. I go to the market and get mobbed as soon as I get out of my car. I go to work and they ask me to just sit back and relax and bring me a nice cold coffee, while the others do the work. Life just changes the moment you become one of a gazillion Indian writers.
Madhumita Mukherjee grew up in Delhi and did her medical education from Calcutta National Medical College. She has been living and working in England since 2001 as a Paediatrician. She has a special affinity for epistolary novels as well as novels written as journals and diaries like ‘Diary of a Provincial Lady’ by E.M. Delafield, and ‘I Capture the Castle’ by Dodie Smith. Besides these, she takes special interest in novels with medical themes such as ‘A Country Doctor’s Notebook’ by Mikhail Bulgakov.
Aseem: Who or what inspired you to begin writing? Madhumita: Nothing in particular and certainly not anyone. I suddenly had the time for the wrong reason and I wanted to distract myself by telling myself a story…
A veteran journalist, Oswald Pereira has worked for leading newspapers and magazines in Mumbai, New Delhi and Muscat. Oswald, who has taught journalism at The Times School of Journalism, is an editor and an English language trainer. Oswald is the author of the widely-acclaimed, best-selling crime thriller, The Newsroom Mafia, published by Grey Oak Westland in December 2011. He was born in Thane, Maharashtra, and studied at St Xaviers College, Mumbai. He now lives with his wife and son in Noida. Revenge of the Naked Princess is his second novel.
He joins us for a small little chat –
Aseem: When and how did you decide to start penning down novels? Oswald: Before entering journalism, while doing my post-graduation in Economics in Bombay University I wrote my first novel in the young adult genre. It was liked by the editor of a top publishing house. But the editor-in-chief overruled the editor. I was unfazed and wrote my second novel in which the protagonist was a priest who falls in love with a girl. Then I joined journalism and reporting and writing front page stories seemed far more exciting than churning out fiction. My two novels written back then, which still remain unpublished were a forgotten story. They still lie somewhere among my old papers that include a big scrapbook of hundreds of news stories.
Rishi Vohra recently relocated back to Mumbai after completing a Green MBA from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law, prior to which he has had a successful career in the Indian entertainment industry. Having been a guest columnist for various newspapers in India, he currently writes for delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine. ‘Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai’ is his first novel.
Aseem: Take us through your journey from the entertainment industry to releasing a novel. Rishi: Well Aseem, it was a long journey. After my B.S. in Corporate Finance / Film making from the U.S., I moved back to Mumbai. I started of in ad films and then moved on to feature films as an assistant director. Side by side, I was also independently directing music videos, TV shows, stage shows, live events, and promos. During this time, I realized that writing is where my passion lay. So I kept writing as I proceeded to San Francisco to study an MBA in Sustainability. During that time, I wrote a novel and pushed it for publication while working / studying. Though it was rejected in the U.S. and other foreign markets, several Indian publishers showed an interest in it.
Shatrujeet Nath was born in Shillong in 1971. As a young man, he sold ice-cream, peddled computer training courses and wrote ad copy before finding his true calling in business journalism. But while still at the top of his game as Assistant Editor at The Economic Times, Shatrujeet quit journalism to write fiction. The Karachi Deception is his first book. He is currently writing his second book, The Guardians of the Halahala, which is part of an epic fantasy trilogy based on the legendary king, Vikramaditya.
We have him here for a special tete-a-tete –
Aseem: Considering you were at the top of your game, why did you decide to forgo a successful career in business journalism? Shatrujeet:The truth was that after more than a decade of being a journalist, I found that I had stopped learning anything new at work. I was stuck in a routine that I didn’t enjoy, and even the prospect of writing a business story didn’t lift the spirits – which is downright scary for anyone who aspires to write. I realized that the problem didn’t lie with journalism; the problem lay with me. I needed to re-invent. And the only way I could think of doing that was by writing something completely different from what I had been writing for ten years.