Nawazuddin Siddiqui withdraws memoir; industry feels he wasn’t ‘careful enough’
Following criticism for minutely narrating his love affairs in his memoir, An Ordinary Life, actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui has decided to withdraw the book. We talk to people from the film and publishing industry about how effective is this decision, now after the book has been launched.Updated: Oct 31, 2017 19:01 IST
When Nawazuddin Siddiqui came out with his controversial memoir, An Ordinary Life, recently, he had admitted that the book could ruffle feathers, for he, after much deliberation, chose to reveal details and names when describing his love affairs. So, it came as a shock when, on Monday evening, Nawaz decided to withdraw the book. He tweeted, “I m apologising 2 every1 who’s sentiments r hurt bcz of d chaos around my memoir #AnOrdinaryLife. I hereby regret & decide 2 withdraw my book (sic).”
Nawaz’s announcement comes after two of his ex-flames, Miss Lovely co-star Niharika Singh and TV actor Sunita Rajwar expressed their displeasure. Sunita said that Nawaz misrepresented facts, while a complaint has been reportedly registered with the National Commission for Women that accuses Nawaz of outraging Niharika’s modesty.
Nawaz’s decision to withdraw the book, however, raises questions about the purpose of a tell-all book, the legalities involved and the publisher’s role in it.
Ram Kamal Mukherjee, the official biographer of actor Hema Malini, and author of Hema Malini: Beyond The Dream Girl, says, “Why would he (Nawaz) withdraw it? Last time I heard such [a] thing was when MF Hussain was upset with the negative criticism of his film Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities (2004) and withdrew the film from the theatres.” The book about Hema Malini, too, made some big revelations, including the bit about Hema almost getting married to actor Jeetendra, and how a drunk Dharmendra (who eventually married Hema) stopped the wedding.
Yesteryear actor Asha Parekh, who released her biography The Hit Girl, says, “I, too, said the truth. [But] I have not had any objections from anybody because I haven’t criticised anybody.” In her book, Parekh had revealed that she was in love with Nasir Hussain, who was a married man and had directed her in six films and produced a seventh with her. She, however, never married him because she wasn’t a “home-breaker”. About the idea of a biography, Parekh says it’s not a good idea anyway to write about oneself midway through one’s life. “You have to experience your life and then you can write about it, not at a young age or when you are in the middle of your life,” she says.
And what about taking permissions from the people mentioned in the book? “You need that only when you talk about issues that can mount to character assassination... My intention as a writer was clear. I wanted to tell her (Hema’s) journey, and that doesn’t mean I will have to run down anyone,” says Ram Kamal Mukherjee.
If an author decides to pull the plug on their book, the publisher can’t do much about it, says Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri from HarperCollins Publishers India that published actor Rishi Kapoor’s biography, Khullam Khulla. “I think it’s entirely up to the author who has withdrawn his book after it got the kind of press it received; only the juicy bits were highlighted. The publisher can’t do much. What happens in a biography is that one goes by what the author is saying. What we do is that we seek a legal opinion when there are names mentioned, take the lawyer’s feedback, and pass it on to the author. There’s a discussion, and then we decide if we keep it. Nawazuddin, it seems, wasn’t careful enough. Also, since the co-author was a woman, Rituparna Chatterjee, she should have asked him that since you are talking about women here and describing your relationships, are you sure about this? Do these people know? Care should have been taken,” says Chaudhuri.
Penguin India, publisher of Nawaz’s memoir, did not comment at the time of writing the article.
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First Published: Oct 31, 2017 19:01 IST