As a television scriptwriter, Gajra Kottary established herself with popular family soaps such as Astitva and Balika Vadhu. So it is no surprise that she chose to write her debut novel, Broken Melodies, about the life of an adolescent girl struggling to find hope within a dysfunctional family.
The book, along with its Hindi translation by Sonal Mitra, was released on Friday at Landmark, Lower Parel, by actor Anupam Kher. “After gaining success in the field of television, I had very little motivation to try other kinds of writing, but this was my dream novel and writing it was creatively fulfilling,” said Kottary, who has already published two short story collections and has spent 12 years writing for TV shows.
Though the book is not autobiographical in its depiction of a lost, traumatic childhood, the author admits the influence of personal experience on the characters. “The novel is set in the Delhi of the 1970s and 80s, where I grew up, and the conflicts of my characters draw from the battles of the people I saw around me,” said Kottary, who claims that her experience as a scriptwriter honed her visualisation skills as a novelist.
Broken Melodies was launched along with a short promotional film produced by Anupam Kher, which includes readings from the book by Kher and actors Dimple Kapadia, Kunal Kapoor, Mahi Gill and Avika Gor.
“When Kottary came to me with the concept of the book several years ago, it stuck in my mind amidst many other script ideas, and when I read the completed book I was convinced I wanted to make a short film about it,” said Kher, who claims he would like to adapt the book into a film if he found a financer.