Yesterday, Rupa launched a new novel, Can’t Die for Size Zero, the story of a 30-year-old professional, Joyeeta Naik, who has no man, no career, not even size on her side. To add to her humiliation, her best friend, Lara, offers to fix her up for a makeover show on TV. Joyeeta’s weight loss journey is studded with experiments with fancy diets and improbable exercises. But will she lose herself in the metamorphosis from XXL to Size Zero?
Mumbai-based author Vrushali Telang who was a TV reporter for a decade, moved to writing and producing shows and has been working as an independent screenwriter for the last couple of years, admits that she was also asked to be a ‘star’ in a makeover show. She refused, but it became the starting point for her first novel.
“Lately, Size Zero has become a major talking point and had me thinking about its trickle-down effect on those on the other side of the fence. I’m comfortable in my own skin, but there are many who aspire to be a Kareena Kapoor,” Telang says, pointing out that while she can understand Kapoor’s motivation given that she’s in the glam business where the camera adds 10 pounds and Size Zero did give her career a boost, it’s not imperative for the girl-next-door to allow herself to be cut down to size so drastically.
Who are her role models from among the glossy divas, you wonder, and Telang smiles, “Lara Dutta and Bipasha Basu. In showbiz, the mantra is ‘survival of the fittest’ and these girls are really fit!”
Her novel focuses on the ‘F’ word - friends, fashion, films, and of course, food that adds up to a lot of fun. “Since I’m from Pune, my friends are my family. And we tend to catch up at cafes and bistros over lunches and dinners. Sometimes after a film and for me, an Oriental movie would invariably mean a Chinese meal, an Iranian classic an order for naan and a Hollywood blockbuster a beer and burger binge,” she laughs.
What about Bollywood? “Well, after watching Pankaj Kapoor gorge on gosht after a bloodfest in Maqbool, I had to have mutton too. And after Aamir Khan turned a salad brunch into an art form in Dil Chahta Hai, I was on greens for a week,” she says. That’s not all! Rang De Basanti prompted a trip to the Bandra dhaba, Papa Pancho, and after Sarkar it was a run home for dal (pulses), chawal (rice) and achar (pickle), a la Amitabh Bachchan.
“Friends say that after reading my book, they feel hungry. I know, I did too, all the time, while writing it,” she chuckles. The ‘total foodie’ who believes that there is nothing worse than living on steamed veggies with a dab of Tabasco, is already at work on her second novel, Forbidden Fruit. “I’ve finished a rough draft but I have to take a break before continuing,” she says.
“You see I’m nine months pregnant. So I have to pop my baby first before popping another book.”