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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

I kissed Priyanka 12 times: Ruskin Bond

Hindustan Times   January 04, 2012
First Published: 06:34 IST(4/1/2012) | Last Updated: 06:34 IST(4/1/2012)

Ruskin Bond, India’s favourite storyteller, will be honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to writing but at the moment he can’t stop gushing about his guest appearance in the movie Saat Khoon Maaf.

Many of us have childhood memories of soaking up the sun during winter vacations, engrossed in the adventures of Rusty in the Room on the Roof, Bond’s first novel.

Bond, who has written over ten novels, has come out with a new novel The Kashmiri Storyteller which immortalizes a lost species: the storyteller.

The Kashmiri Storyteller brings alive the idyllic life in a series of folktales by an old gentleman who sits down with a hookah and tells stories to the local children.

The Padma Shri awardee had written the stories a long time back, but decided to get them published now.

“I had written the stories a long time back, but the editor in London asked me to remove the storyteller, which I refused to do as I wanted to preserve that atmosphere of children listening to a storyteller,” he says.

“The storyteller and the children in my books are real people. I had kept the stories (he wrote) aside but I came across them while rummaging through some stuff and thought well, ‘not bad’”.

Author of innumerable stories, he himself has quite a few books which he goes back to again and again. “I can read Alice in Wonderland again and again and the other day I found a copy of the Wuthering Heights – it had kept me up all night when I read it first at 12, and it kept me up this time too.”

The author, who lives a quiet life in Landour, is glad to be finally noticed for the Lifetime Achievement Award, “I'm not a recluse. I am just an old-fashioned writer who keeps himself tucked away and writes. I have been scribbling away for the past 50-60 years, I was pleased that they finally noticed me!” he adds humorously.

While he is been honoured for his writing, Bond is quite sure that he won’t be receiving the Oscars for his acting debut in Saat Khoon Maaf – a movie based on his short story Susanna’s Seven Husbands.

“In one scene, I had to kiss Priyanka (Chopra) on the cheek in a fatherly fashion. In the first take I knocked off her glasses, after 12 takes the director asked me if I was doing it deliberately. I don’t think I created an impression, as you see I haven’t got any more acting offers since then,” he chuckles.


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