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Telling tales

Shilpa Shetty, Aishwarya Rai and Rajnikanth are all set to release their life stories this year. Princy Jain writes on the thriving market for celebrity biographies.
By Princy Jain | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2008 06:56 PM IST

Shilpa Shetty will talk about how she handled her break up with Akshay Kumar. Aishwarya Rai will chart her life from being a simple Mumbai girl to Hollywood star and Bachchan bahu.

A certain bus conductor, Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, will tell all about becoming the iconic Rajnikanth of the south Indian cinema.

What's happening here? A tell all session at your neighbourhood bookshop.

Too much
All these stars are set to release their biographies this year. Quite a flood, yes, but also great business. Because movie star biographies and autobiographies are outselling several major Indian and international writers works.

"Biographies of filmstars are a huge success," says Ajay Mago of Om Books International. Last year, Om Books had published Shah Rukh Khan's biography by Anupama Chopra. Titled King of Bollywood and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema, all 20,000 copies from the first print were sold out.

Pramod Kapoor of Roli Books, who published Mr and Mrs Dutt: Memories of Our Parents by Namrata Dutt Kumar and Priya Dutt last year, says, "Although the book was more of a tribute than a biography, it sold 14,000 copies, almost 12,000 of which were picked up in the first three months."

Another huge hit last year was Romancingwith Life by Dev Anand. "It's a runaway success. Almost 50 copies were picked within two weeks," says M Singh of Bahrisons Bookshop.

Many more to come
Come March 6 and Om International will release Rajnikanth's biography on a massive scale. Apparently, Aishwarya's biography has been picked up by one of the major international publishers.

Though the publishers refused to be named, since the final deal is yet to be made, talking about the plans, an official says, "Since Aishwarya is a global Indian, we plan to launch the book in an very international style. We are also looking at translating the book in various languages."

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