Chatura Rao, the writer-wife of Dabangg director Abhinav Kashyap, will launch a collection of children’s stories, Pandupur, set in a fictional town in South India by the same name. The book has been co-written with her sister Adithi, and sister-in-law Kalki Koechlin will read few chapters from it at the Crossword store at Kemps Corner this Sunday.
Chatura has earlier written two books, Amie And The Chawl of Colour (2004) and an adult fiction, Meanwhile, Upriver (2005), along with several short story series for Puffin Books. This book, her first collaboration with Adithi, started out with growing-up stories written individually and apart. But when they saw the similarities in their writing style, experiences and description of Bangalore-Mysore culture, the sisters decided to compile the book.
“Our editor, Anita Roy, suggested setting the stories in a particular place and that’s how the bustling town of Pandupur, an amalgamation of all the places we’d visited in Karnataka, was born in my sister’s imagination. Once it came into being, everything else fell into place,” reminisces Chatura.
Quiz her on similarities between Pandupur and RK Narayan’s Malgudi and she admits that while both are in South India and unreal, Pandupur is more contemporary due to some of the issues raised; like consumerism and separated parents. “Some also deal with age-old concerns like the loss of nature or the death of an elderly grandparent,” she points out.
Interestingly, Chatura doesn’t plan to write a movie screenplay any time soon. “That’s my sister’s and husband’s forte. Abhinav and I both write, but for a different purpose. Right now, he doesn’t intend to write a book and I don’t want to write for films, but may be some day,” she smiles.
She adds that while Ronald Dahl and JK Rowling are kids’ favourites, Indian writers too have come into their own. “They just need a little marketing push, as do films for children,” she asserts. On the subject of films, Chatura is all praise for Abhinav’s directorial debut Dabangg (2010). “It had a tight screenplay and fun dialogue. The film was a riot and I’m happy for Abhinav because not being from Mumbai, he really had to struggle for his break,” she says.
Dabangg 2 is on the way, what about a Pandupur 2? “You’ve giving me ideas,” she laughs. “Why not? We already have our town and characters that are beloved to us and the kids who’ve read the book. May be their numbers will grow.”