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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Author Interview : Anita Shirodkar, author of ‘Nights in Pink Satin'

Anita Shirodkar
Read up, Interview with Anita Shirodkar. She wrote this book, 'Nights in Pink Satin'  in extraordinary fashion. Her words speak for themselves, and you can see how she brought the story in its full form, especially the city, Mumbai to our desks. 

The comparisons she draws out, are there for us to see, so she does in Part 1 of this Interview, Folks...

Read up my Review here.

How did ‘Nights in Pink Satin’ happen? Could you describe the journey? 

Indian readers are an emancipated bunch nowadays, and their taste in popular literature has developed dramatically over the years. ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ generated so much interest worldwide, so I got to thinking what would happen if something like it was written in an Indian context. I had no desire to actually write it, but wanted to explore what would happen if my protagonist wrote the Indian version of an erotic bestseller. 

Simran’s character is in complete variance with the book she writes, and I found the concept interesting; a young, relatively inexperienced girl writing a sexually charged potboiler! I started off with that basic storyline, and along the way the rest of it happened. 

How did the story, especially Simran and Siddharth’s come out?

The story is not meant to be about romance per se, but who doesn’t like a smattering of a love story thrown in to the tale! The relationship between Simran and Siddharth is very much a product of their respective pasts, and the space they are in when they meet each other.

It’s not a conventional romance. Siddharth marries Simran without any expectation of being happy or ever finding true partnership in the marriage; while Simran is besotted with him from the word go. It’s an interesting dynamic to play with. But the story is not just about their romance… it’s about Simran’s ambitions and the mind-set of society in accepting something out of the ordinary.
Mumbai is a relevant part of your story. How did the high life and its experiences play a part in your novel?

Mumbai is such an interesting city, insofar as it has the most clearly defined set of social circles. The hoi polloi of the city are clearly differentiated from the rest; they live in SoBo, they frequent the trendiest bars and restaurants, throw the most lavish parties and wear the most exclusive couture. Every big city has them, and they are the most chronicled and the most critically observed inhabitants of a metropolis.

But beneath that polished exterior, their lives are as fraught with problems and emotional heartbreaks. The same joys and sorrows that affect the rest of the world affect them too. 

Only, their problems find their way into the tabloids, and even the local paanwala knows who is sleeping with whom. That’s Mumbai for you! ‘Nights in Pink Satin’ portrays characters that live on the fringes of this kind of public glare.

What kind of research did you put in it?

It wasn’t the kind of story that required much research! Living in Mumbai, one is familiar with the city and just being here and observing life around you is research. 

Unlike Simran, I haven’t really based my characters on anyone in particular, but just taken inspiration wherever I can find it. You meet all kinds of people who tell you some really unbelievable tales which happen to be completely true, and the first thing you think is, that’s going into my next book!

So yes, strange truths do find their way into fiction. For me, research is observing people, listening to what’s happening around me and trying to file that information away into my memory.

What according to you is different about your book?

I don’t think it’s as important to be different as it is to fill a void. Yesterday, I read a couple of reviews of ‘Nights in Pink Satin’ on Goodreads, and the takeaway I got was that it’s a fun, quick and easy read.

I like to think of my writing as easy and entertaining; while I do enjoy reading tomes occasionally, I feel that readers don’t have the time and mind space for reading heavy books regularly. 

A quick fun read need not be devoid of literary merit: a well-paced, light book that is not just pure romance is something that is the need of the day, and if I can fill that space, I’ll be more than satisfied. 

How would you relate the lives of characters to the lives today? Any similarities?
It depends which characters we are taking about. Obviously, most people do not live the lives of the rich and famous, so there can only be few similarities. 

But yes, there are plenty of similarities in the book with life today; the undoubted sexual emancipation of the younger generation, the concept of making an arranged marriage work in a changed urban scenario, the propensity of the media to dictate the course of events in the lives of celebrities, it’s power to sway opinion and controversy, the common emotions of jealousy, insecurity and love that affect people alike, regardless of social barriers. 

A night in Pink Satin is the story of a young girl and her aspirations, but it is also the story of an older woman, who never dared to have aspirations until it was almost too late. That’s a common enough situation in many women’s lives today!

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