Before co-writing Shah Rukh Khan’s magnum opus production RA.One, Kanika Dhillon spent a few years assisting Farah Khan on Om Shanti Om (2007), apart from working with Red Chillies. And after all her experiences with the King Khan, the least she can call him is a ‘mentor’. 'He has always encouraged my writing,' says Dhillon, who recently finished authoring Bombay Duck Is A Fish, which will be launched on June 6.
While the book does have a character inspired by Farah, Kanika denies having a Shah Rukh Khan hidden somewhere in the narrative. 'His life story is a fable. It’s not just a success story of a famous star; it’s like Santa Claus’s story. He made the Bollywood dream seem achievable by the middle class. He is a phenomenon that draws people to migrate to Mumbai… that’s what he is.'
The book revolves around the life of a girl, who migrates to Mumbai, to make it big in Bollywood. 'The book is not autobiographical in any manner, though I have used instances and references of people I came across in tinsel town,' she says, adding, 'The story deals with the underbelly of the Hindi film industry. The assistant directors, spot boys, executive producers and drivers who aren’t in the spotlight; those whose interaction is microscopic.'
Kanika enjoyed the bustling energy in office while writing Ra.One with other co-writers, but is not allowed to delve into the details of the story officially.
A big fan of superhero film herself, she picks Spiderman as her favourite. 'I have been very inspired by him and have learnt that no dream is too big to achieve,' says Kanika, who will begin writing a romantic comedy film for Red Chillies next. 'To continue getting the best that life has to offer you have to believe in dreams and miracles, and superhero stories give me that.'
Her next book will be called Kalma. It will be based on the true story of a girl in Karachi, who runs away to London breaking away from society’s norms. This one she promises will have nothing to do with Bollywood.