Gajra Kottary, who co-wrote Balika Vadhu, one of the most path breaking daily soap on Indian Television, is all set to launch her maiden novel Once Upon A Star. We caught up with Gajra to know more about her dream Novel. Read the excerpts-
About the story of Once Upon A Star
It is the story of a woman on how she gets her identity from her Husband, who is a Superstar and then there is a reversal in her identity because of her Husband’s extra-marital affair. It’s about what it does to her and how she learns to stand up and then bounces back. It gives a purview of the reflection and resurrection of life under the media arch lights because in our film industry, there are three people in a marriage – the husband or star, the wife and the media. They go through all the emotional upheaval while being watched all the time by the cameras and it changes a lot of things in their life; it is very harsh. I found this story quite fascinating.
The story of this superstar’s wife is also set in a filmy family. People might draw parallels with the Bollywood star’s lives, which is absolutely fine, we all get our inspiration from real life incidents, but the motive of the book is not to sensationalize anybody personal life story.
On writing for Balika Vadhu vis-a-vis the popularity it has gained
In terms of contribution of writing for the content, I think it has a lot to contribute to a show’s success. Because with so many changes of faces over the years, we are constantly under the threat that the face of the protagonist might also change. But, a show like Balika Vadhu actually goes on to prove that in television it’s not a particular face that people are loyal to in a show, but sometimes it is the content that is keeping them hooked. I think consistency in writing is most important and we are a wonderful team and we are so much in sync. As a writer you feel happy when your thoughts are justified through a good screenplay and then played so beautifully on screen.
On how Balika Vadu is fry cry from being a Saas-Bahu saga
It was a passion to be able to break-free from any pre-conceived theme. When we started writing, we had no idea if we should be writing a story around social issues. The intent was obviously there but we were very skeptical whether it would work. But, the fact that it had worked has spurred us to almost make it the DNA of the show and now it is effortless because our characters have turned out like that. For instance, if Anandi sees something wrong, you know she is going to take a stand against that. So, it has just grown from strength to strength.
On the upcoming Balika Vadhu track
We have to move into a new phase. It won’t be drastic but we need to see a certain aspects of Anandi’s personality, which we haven’t yet explored; like a mother. Although, she is a mother to Amol, but being mother is also an experience. It is a very different experience of carrying a baby and having the baby and the emotions that come with it. Also, like we say ‘Zamaana badal raha hai’ because the social set up is changing increasingly, we need to see Anandi changing and doing different things to retain the freshness of the show.
Balika Vadhu into a Book?
It definitely merits a book. But in terms of it’s culmination, but we will put our heads together and decide in terms of design and how the book should space out.
On her favourite genre
I end up reading a lot of non-fiction, because the effort of constantly thinking stories for my book as well as my show tend to get a little taxing and to an extent saturated. I read about social trends as it helps me to know the problems and issues people around us are grappling with and the kind of help they are seeking.
About her future plans
As long as I have the energy, I wish Balika continues till that. But I am very serious about writing books because there are so many stories inside me, which are not very conducive for television right now. I am at a stage in life where I feel I need to sit and write for myself, it keeps me happy and sane.