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HomeInterview‘I lost interest in writing because of the stifling atmosphere’: Mohan Deep

‘I lost interest in writing because of the stifling atmosphere’: Mohan Deep

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MohanMohan Deep is an author, painter and Feng Shui Master. He has authored many books ‘The Mystery and Mystique of Madhubala’ (1996), ‘It’s My Life’ (Novel) (1997), ‘Simply Scandalous: Meena Kumari’ (1998), ‘Eurekha!’ – an unauthorized biography of Rekha (1999), ‘Four Options’ (2000), ‘Feng Shui for the Bold & Beautiful, the Rich and Famous’ (2001) and ‘Nehru and the Tantrik Woman’ (2002) and The Five Foolish Virgins.

Deep is back with a book “Color Me Rich”. He is known for his bold and controversial writings. Some of his writings were not allowed for stage performances to avoid law and order situations, to which he admitted saying, he lost interest in writing because of this stifling atmosphere.

Here are the excerpts of the interview with Vaidehi Taman.

How would you describe Mohan Deep?

A creative person always looking towards new challenges.

Tell us about your journey into writing.

This journey started with writing in longhand, with a fountain pen on lined notebooks in Sindhi and after years on Brother portable typewriter, followed by more years on my PC and laptop and today you will find me writing on my iPhone. I wrote both the novels ‘Color Me Rich’ and ‘The Five Foolish Virgins’ on my iPhone. These changes, to me, are symbolic of writing different things in different periods. In the 70’s I wrote a lot in Sindhi – over 200 short stories, two novels, even some poetry, some plays – but I wanted to reach a larger cosmopolitan audience. In the 80’s I got into English journalism with a prize in a short story competition. I found myself close to the world inhabited by the likes of Busybee, MV Kamath, M J Akbar, Bikram Vohra, Khushwant Singh, R K Karanjia, Ayub Sayyad and Vinod Mehta. They were my heroes! And I loved the scandals and controversies that had readers salivating for more. It was great to see, while travelling in local trains, readers buying ‘Blitz’ and skipping all pages to read ‘Just Released’. It was the same with every column and article I wrote. I had a simple policy: Never bore. Whether an article or a column, it must be readable. Sensational sold! However, as someone belonging to the old school of journalism, I always double-checked everything. Nothing I wrote has ever been disproved. In the 90’s, I moved into writing books.

Journalist and famous writer Late Khushwant Singh, called you ‘a truly gifted gossip writer’? Gossip sells more in Film industry? My mentor Behram Contractor referred you as ‘William Goldman of Bollywood’s stars. How would you look at these statements today?

Bollywood is full of creative people. When they are not making movies, they manufacture gossip. I took enough care not to be used. I double-checked every story I heard but wrote it in a chatty style. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t gossip, but Khushwant Singh himself loved to gossip. Moreover, being a writer himself he wouldn’t have liked to call me ‘a truly gifted writer’! I still cherish Behram Contractor calling me ‘William Goldman of Bollywood’s stars’ and Rajiv K Bajaj, who was the editor of ‘The Daily’ calling me ‘Kitty Kelly of India’. It was great to realize that you’re the only one of the kind. All these titles came my way after I wrote the three biographies. My reasons for writing these books were different. The tidbits one wrote about them didn’t explain why they do what they do. These biographies help us to understand why Rekha is what she is, or why Madhubala tolerated being bashed up by her husband Kishore Kumar or, for that matter, why Meena Kumari was prone to become an alcoholic.

You have written multiple books on Bollywood film personalities. Why have you never written anything on political personalities or sensational issues of India?

I wrote a play. It was based on facts and some fiction. Historical fiction. First the facts. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, had a torrid affair with Shraddha Mata. Mata delivered his baby which was given in adoption. No one knows who adopted the baby.

I set my play in the emergency period and it was about the imaginary search for Nehru’s son. I suggested that he could be the messiah when all the top opposition leaders, including Jaiprakash Narayan, Atal Behari Vajpayee, L K Advani and George Fernandes were behind bars. The Stage Performances Scrutiny Board of the Government of Maharashtra had not allowed me to stage it because “staging this play could cause a law and order problem”. It was the Congress government. Maybe now it can be staged, but I have lost interest. In fact, and I am admitting it for the first time, for a long time I lost interest in writing because of this stifling atmosphere.

Have you ever got inclined towards acting in films?

Somehow, acting has never attracted me though it may be an exciting career for many people.

Would you like to tell us about your experiments with the ancient oriental philosophy and science?

I read a lot. Fiction and nonfiction, I came across some books on Oriental philosophy. My real journey into Chinese philosophy and Feng Shui began when I read about Chow Kok Koh, the old sage on the backward mule. In my interpretation of oriental philosophy, there are two ways to look at life and goals. One is goalless-ness and the other is becoming an achiever in whatever we do. Goalless-ness is a state of mind. It is symbolised by a sage sitting on a backward mule. He doesn’t resist, doesn’t fight…the mule may take him anywhere. The mule symbolises destiny. This attitude brings inner peace to you and you do not need Feng Shui. You are content with whatever life offers to you. But the Feng Shui way brings you success, achievements, fame, wealth…everything. It is all about enhancing your Earth luck. The concept is that Heaven luck, Earth luck and Man luck together make the trinity of luck. It is not possible to change or enhance Heaven Luck. Feng Shui helps in enhancing one’s Earth Luck. I found Feng Shui worked. And it worked like magic. I was so happy with the miraculous results that I gave tips to a film star friend. He tried and benefitted. Some more film folks consulted me. Ajay Devgn launched my book ‘Feng Shui for the Bold & the Beautiful, the Rich & Famous’. I can count some big names from Bollywood and some from politics as my clients. More interesting is the case of a top politician from the South who was in jail for his involvement in a major scam. His distressed wife assured me that he was innocent and a victim, and consulted me. Feng Shui helped him too!

Your family migrated from Karachi, Pakistan in the stir of the partition. You have your roots in Pakistan, how do you look at ongoing bans on Pakistani singers, writers and artists?

In India we have this tendency to demand bans. Whether it is Sard jokes or a play, someone somewhere wants to figure in the news by demanding a ban. What is the bravery in demanding a ban on the creative people, or even cricket? The creative people are the messengers of love and peace. Cultural exchange between India and Pakistan can play an important role in improving the relationship between countries. Why, they banned my play ‘Nehru and the Tantrik Woman’ because they thought it could cause a ‘law & order’ problem!

The Five Foolish Virgins is faction or fiction? How could you get the understanding into women’s minds?

‘The Five Foolish Virgins’ is fiction with its roots firmly in the world that I am familiar with – Bollywood, Underworld and the culture of Sindhis. A journalist rightly commented that it is as if it is not an Indian novel, and yet it is very much Indian. It is a paradox of my choosing. I have been open to various influences – Indian, English, American. The idea is to give the readers a good, solid book. I observed the research and the time that went into the novels of Arthur Hailey, Irving Wallace, Frederick Forsyth and Mario Puzo, and mixed it with the raw Indianness of regional books in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Sindhi and Urdu. The result is ‘The Five Foolish Virgins’. I don’t have any claim to understand the complexities of a woman’s mind but whatever little is there is because I respect and love women. It is also because of the influence of Bengali novelist Sarat Chandra Chatterjee and the female characters he conceived in novels like ‘Shrikant’ and ‘Charitraheen’, Punjabi writer and poet Amrita Pritam and even the way Harold Robbins and Frederick Forsyth portrayed the Italian women; loving, giving, and yet demanding. Complete women who retained their womanliness because they were strong enough never to feel the need to compete with men.

Your recent launch “Color Me Rich” is inspired by the painter Hema Upadhyay murder case?

‘Color Me Rich’ cannot be inspired by the painter Hema Upadhyay’s murder case! The murder happened last month, and I have been working on this book for the last several months. However, there is an uncanny similarity between my novel and this murder case. Like artist Hema Upadhyay’s artist husband, now in jail and charged with the murder of his wife, the protagonist of ‘Color Me Rich’ too is a painter who is arrested and charged with the killing of his wife Zenobia Taraporewala. There are similarity ends. It is like the disclaimer in every book of fiction ‘any resemblance to any real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental’.

What is your message to our Twitter readers in 140 characters?

Reading and life experiences will make you more relevant to what is happening around you and you’ll be able to say much more with 140 characters.

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