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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

‘We need more narratives on women’

Archna Matharu , Hindustan Times   January 10, 2013
First Published: 10:47 IST(10/1/2013) | Last Updated: 10:59 IST(10/1/2013)

As someone who has made a mark with her pen, through novel and film stories, Advaita Kala sees a lot of spark in the present generation and feels that in the near future a lot of Indian youngsters will become writers.

“The recent protests in Delhi, with youngsters out on the streets, were incredible. This generation is engaged, they have a voice and they are using it right. We will have more writers soon,” says the writer.

With bestselling novel Almost Single, two interesting movie scripts—Anjaana Anjaani and Kahaani—and most recently a Zee Cine Award for Best Story, Kala, who is a hotelier by profession and an author by choice, has many reasons to cheer.

Sharing that telling stories has always been an integral part of her personality and has always been her way of conveying personal thoughts, she says, “In the present times of repression of so many kinds, writing as a form of expression is the most gentle.”

Recalling how Almost Single came to her, Kala says that it was a way for her to present the confusions that a contemporary Indian woman faces with generosity.

“The Indian woman of today straddles this world of tradition and modernity. Her decisions are many and her choices in so many ways are so few. I wanted to talk about her,” she says.

Be it Aisha Bhatia from Almost Single or Vidya Bagchi from Kahaani, Kala’s stories have strong women characters at the centre of the plot. And she says that for her it is both a conscious choice as well as something that comes naturally to her.

“I think we need more women-centric narratives — it’s a part of the dialogue we need to have with society. I have some incredibly strong and gifted women in my life and I know that there are so many out there. We need to hear about them, see them, make them the centre of the world, every once in a while. We owe it to the next generation of young women, to open doors, provide insights into the world through a woman’s eyes,” she says.
She adds that it is not very easy being a woman author and one needs a strong support system to make it big in the field. “Although gender has so little to do with writing, but it’s a boys club everywhere, make no mistake,” comes her sharp reply.  
 
Although Kala enjoys writing stories for films, she is not keen on seeing Almost Single on celluloid. “That is mostly because Almost Single is a story that needs to be handled with sensitivity. It would need a director with a sense of fun and balance,” she says, adding that after watching Ishaqzaade she feels Parineeti Chopra will make a great Aisha Bhatia.  

Her advice to all those wishing to follow her footsteps is that they should tell the story they want to tell and not worry about bestsellers, awards or reviews. “This is a lonely profession, you have to love it to do it, and that won’t happen if you make it all about the external stuff,” she says.

When not writing or working in a hotel, Kala loves to travel, as she says it helps her disconnect from things when she needs it the most. When asked about her upcoming projects, she says, “No idea really. I don’t know what I will come up with. Give me a couple of months.”

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