MEMOIR DYNAMICS: TO TELL OR NOT TO TELL
Following criticism for minutely narrating his love affairs in his memoir, Nawaz has decided to withdraw the book; industry reacts
Jo fact hai, maine wohi samne rakhne ki koshish kari (I’ve presented the facts)” With that attitude Nawazuddin Siddiqui came out with his controversial memoir. In an interview to HT, the actor 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 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.” 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.” She says it’s not a good idea 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.” 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,” 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. “In a biography, one goes by what the author is saying. We do take the lawyer’s feedback when names are mentioned. There’s a discussion with the author, and then we decide if we keep it. Nawazuddin, it seems, wasn’t careful enough. Also, since the co-author Rituparna Chatterjee is a woman, she should’ve asked Nawaz that since you are talking about women here, are you sure about this? Do they know?” says Chaudhuri. Penguin India, publisher of Nawaz’s memoir, did not comment at the time of going to press.
Ram Kamal Mukherjee