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‘The journalist in me is still alive'

chandigarh Updated: Nov 25, 2013 10:02 IST
Navleen Kaur Lakhi
Navleen Kaur Lakhi
Hindustan Times
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Having spent all her life as a journalist, author and screenplay writer, Nandita Puri knows what it means to be a journalist. Perhaps that’s what makes her answer just about anything we throw at her. Getting up, close and personal with author, actor Om Puri’s wife, Nandita Puri, at recently concluded Literati 2013, we talk about the controversies that surround her, the veil of paid journalism finally coming off and the writer within her.

Puri, who has authored a collection of short stories, Nine on Nine, Om Puri’s biography Unlikely Hero and her debut novel, Two Worlds, shares, “Currently, I’m busy writing a novel called Headlines, which will be a nexus between media and celebrities. It’ll be full of fireworks, as it discloses the real inside story of both the worlds — how paid media works, how tables turn when news is being paid for, nuances of tabloid and yellow journalism.”

The writer who has written screenplays for commercial and non-commercial films is in the process of writing another screenplay. “It will be on My Jenny’s, a short story from Nine on Nine. The film is called Masala Chai and will be directed by Anant Mahadevan. These days, I’m also in the process of finding a producer for it.”

Though writing has been a smooth journey, there are things that deeply upset Puri. About the controversies surrounding her marriage to Om Puri, she says, “I’m taking Mumbai Mirror to court for an article published on September 3 by a journalist named Vickey Lalwani. The write-up has termed me ‘guilty of adultery’, for which I’m taking the publication to court. I don’t understand why people don’t do their research.

National Women’s Council is supporting me on the issue. I honestly don’t give a damn about such things, but shouldn’t these writers understand that I have a 15-year-old son?”

“Ok! I agree you are paid to, or even threatened to, write a particular thing, but at least get your facts right!” Recalling another controversy that came up during the release of Om Puri’s biography — The Unlikely Hero: The Story of Om Puri — which was penned by her, she says, “Similarly, just two week before the release of the book, Tehelka picked up stuff that according to them made news. How can you just pull out a part of the information and sensationalise it, forgetting that Om Puri is also a great actor who has earned a name in Hollywood as well?”

Nandita might be upset with the state of journalism — which she says is ‘paid PR’ — but the profession still remains her first love. “When I started working, journalism was comparatively neat, with a little bit of yellow journalism, of course. Things have changed now. But, journalism is a very dynamic field and would always be my first love. The journalist in me is still alive.”

Though Nandita has written various screenplays, she dismisses the idea of wearing the director’s hat. “I’m not made for something like direction or production. I love to write and then disappear!”