‘Books have al­ways been a part of my life; it was how we were raised’

Hindustan Times (Gurgaon) - City - - FRONT PAGE - Prashant Singh ■ prashant.singh@htlive.com

She started off as an ac­tor (with Barsaat in 1995) but Twin­kle Khanna never got too at­tracted to the glitzy world of Bol­ly­wood. Now, of course, she has changed gear and turned into an ac­com­plished au­thor, with suc­cess­ful books such as Mrs Fun­ny­bones and The Leg­end of Lak­shmi Prasad.

“Books have al­ways been a part of my life. And it was also about the way we were raised. My sis­ter (Rinke Khanna) prob­a­bly reads as much as me. My mother (Dim­ple Ka­pa­dia, ac­tor) is also a vo­ra­cious reader, so we were raised in that kind of an en­vi­ron­ment,” says Twin­kle, adding that “very few peo­ple who write have not been writ­ing their en­tire lives”.

Shar­ing that she used to write po­ems dur­ing her teen years, Twin­kle says she had “writ­ten half a book by the time I was 18-19”. She adds, “In fact, I have a card from an old school friend where she had writ­ten some­thing about how my po­ems and I should get toma­toes thrown at, and peo­ple should throw eggs at my face (laughs). It was a birthday card and all of us have such funny friends.”

Al­though read­ing was al­ways a big part of her grow­ing up years, Twin­kle feels that read­ing, for ac­tors, was con­sid­ered “very strange espe­cially since peo­ple don’t look at Bol­ly­wood that way”.

“But my fa­ther (late Ra­jesh Khanna, a Hindi cin­ema leg­end) was a big reader. In fact, when I was col­lect­ing all his things (af­ter he passed away), he had At­las Shrugged and Foun­tain­head (both writ­ten by Ayn Rand) on his bed­side ta­ble in which he had un­der­lined para­graphs and used book­marks,” she says.

In­ter­est­ingly, Twin­kle calls all of it “a fam­ily trait”.

“As chil­dren, we don’t re­ally lis­ten to what our par­ents are say­ing, but we are surely watch­ing what they are do­ing and I think we grew up like that,” says the ac­tor­writer, who has turned pro­ducer with her hus­band Ak­shay Ku­mar’s lat­est film,

Pad Man.

But isn’t writ­ing a very per­sonal space com­pared to act­ing?

“I think writ­ing is some­thing where you can still hide be­hind words, whereas in act­ing, you have to have zero de­fences. Also for some­one like me, who was born in this fish bowl, ev­ery­body thinks, ‘How can you not like be­ing an ac­tress?’ But if you have grown up eat­ing jalebi from the time you were born, you may want to eat barfi, but no­body thinks of that,” says Twin­kle, adding that for her, “there is no com­par­i­son” be­tween writ­ing and act­ing.

Twin­kle Khanna says she had writ­ten ‘half a book’ by the time she was about 19 years old

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