Name any Hollywood celebrity and chances are, he or she has already done an autobiography or something like it. In India, so far, the story was different — it was politicians, management gurus, an occasional celeb. But suddenly now, as if by a collective ‘make hay while the sun shines’ brainwave, every Bollywood and sport star is up to a personal memoir.
Kareena Kapoor’s ‘The Style Diary of a Bollywood Diva’ released recently, Shah Rukh Khan’s is called ‘Twenty Years in a Decade’ and will be out soon, cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s recounting of cricket and cancer in ‘The Test of My Life’ is the talk of the town and up next is Sachin Tendulkar’s tell-all. Not so long ago, badminton star Saina Nehwal and Oscar-winning sound artist Resul Pookutty also made waves with their autobiographies.
Earlier, it was difficult to find such memoirs since a different sense of privacy prevailed. Gossip columns were the only source of personal information about celebrities. Now, things are different. Celebrities want to set the record straight, speak about their lives as they have lived it, make confessions about things they couldn’t, earlier, since they were in the middle of those things then,” says VK Karthika, publisher and chief editor at HarperCollins India. Experts also attribute this trend to the fact that Indian celebs have finally realised that most successful people world over have books in their name, and that people now want to read about cinema and cricket — not just watch and forget it.
The biggest factor, of course, is a flourishing fan market. “The people who pick up these books idolise these stars and want to see the world through their eyes,” says author Anuja Chauhan. The writing fraternity doesn’t seem to feel threatened though, since this market, they say, is “niche”.