The raunchy moral­ist.

Woman's Era - - Noise Pollution - By Rimli Bhat­tacharya

ac­que­line Jill "Jackie" Collins, Bri­tish-born Li­bran in Ham­stead, London, the un­daunted fa­mous English ro­mance novelist of Hol­ly­wood ex­oti­cism and sex, took her last breath at age 67, and lost the bat­tle to breast can­cer but only af­ter all her 32 books on glam­our, sex and af­fairs in Hol­ly­wood be­came in­ter­na­tional best­sellers.

Known for writ­ing, the raunchy nov­els Collins was ex­pelled from her school at the age of 15 which she pro­fessed four decades later that she was a “Ju­ve­nile delin­quent,” but that didn’t de­ter her from fol­low­ing her pas­sion. She was, in fact, glad that she could move away from the stereo­type modus operandi. Given her good looks, she fea­tured in act­ing roles in the 50s and had a brief brush with stage singing as well. Though she did try to squeeze into the Hol­ly­wood film In­dus­try grab­bing side roles where her sib­ling Joan was an ac­tress, she gave up when she felt act­ing was not her true call­ing.

No less than a Greek god­dess, Collins switched to writ­ing and her first novel The World is Full of Mar­ried Men be­hooved to be a best seller. Nei­ther a scholar nor stu­dent lit­er­a­ture, like a nor­mal in­amorata Collins took to fic­tion writ­ing but soon got trapped in con­tro­ver­sies for her un­con­ven­tional and bold writ­ing where Bar­bara Cart­land called her book “nasty”, and “filthy”, “dis­gust­ing” only to be proved wrong. Though Cart­land too was an English ro­man­tic novelist she was nowhere in com­par­i­son to Collins’ fer­vid nov­els.

Her bio it­er­ates she was un­bashed in her nov­els from Bev­erly Hills bed­rooms to a raunchy prowl along the streets of Hol­ly­wood.

The fact is that Collins is the only woman who had the guts to ar­tic­u­late un­bashedly the na­ture of lives lived by Hol­ly­wood roy­alty. Widely ac­claimed and heav­ily crit­i­cised over the years for her nov­els, her nov­els por­trayed a healthy dose of sex, drugs and fame and the dam­age the all three can cre­ate. Well, if you read her nov­els for sex­ual plea­sure then you won’t be do­ing a jus­tice. She in­deed had to do a lot of research, hard work and faced re­jec­tions prior to launch­ing her nov­els.

How­ever, the all-time high to read her nov­els has been the way she

wrote. Collins claimed, “Fall­ing in love is like get­ting hit by a large truck and yet not be­ing mor­tally wounded. Just sick to your stom­ach, high one minute, low the next. Starv­ing hun­gry but un­able to eat. Hot, cold, for­ever horny, full of hope and en­thu­si­asm, with mo­men­tary de­pres­sions that wipe you out.”

Collins took to writ­ing steamy sto­ries for her mates to de­vour but lit­tle did she know that all of her works would turn out to be mega–hits. It would be wrong if one says that Collins ex­posed sex­u­al­ity in her nov­els. To a cer­tain ex­tent, yes, is true, all her nov­els spoke of for­bid­den re­la­tion­ships, love, lust, pas­sion, and scin­til­lat­ing love mak­ing – but she also un­leashed the bit­ter truth of the life of the Hol­ly­wood stars.

Out here in In­dia if an au­thor takes to writ­ing openly on sex­u­al­ity he or she has ei­ther been drawn into con­tro­ver­sies or the novel is named ob­scene or has fetched le­gal bat­tles or the au­thor has been ex­pelled or has been jailed or has been crit­i­cised or has been named a porn novelist and the list of “or” is end­less.

Yes, Collins too was crit­i­cised but, much to the dis­may of those who crit­i­cised her, all her nov­els had a gar­gan­tuan ef­fect.

I would like to share my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence. I was four­teen when I first read her book Chances. My mind was on fire – can nov­els be that bold, can sex be por­trayed so openly – but it was equally in­trigu­ing. I got glued to her nov­els not be­cause of the sex­u­al­ity por­trayed in her nov­els but the patch of fic­tion, the thriller, the soro­r­i­cides, and the breath-tak­ing ro­mance con­trib­uted equally. Each of her nov­els had a tale of erotic sus­pense and glam­orous in­trigue that left me be­wil­dered and I chose to for­get my lessons, but chose to read her nov­els. The gunshots “bang”, “bang”, “bang” still echoes in my ears each time I open her nov­els to read. It was year 2000, I ap­proached a road­side book seller for Collins’ nov­els to which he whis­pered ush­er­ing me be­hind the trees “Madam, this is the lat­est one, but do not read it openly, use a cover”. I was dumb­struck, it’s ma­lign­ing an au­thor, so this is the mind­set we have in In­dia, I guess huh!

Oh yes, there were sev­eral pen­men who tried to copy her, but Collins proved to be the best. Jackie Collins has been called a “raunchy moral­ist” by the late di­rec­tor Louis Malle and “Hol­ly­wood’s own Mar­cel Proust” by Van­ity Fair mag­a­zine.

Look­ing at her per­sonal life – yes we do love to poke our noses in pri­vate lives; Collins was Bri­tish as well as a US cit­i­zen. She did marry sev­eral times, got di­vorced as well, had af­fairs and she also quoted"i have a man for ev­ery oc­ca­sion,” adding: “When I was a kid grow­ing up, I used to read my fa­ther's Play­boy and I'd see these guys and they had fan­tas­tic apart­ments and cars. I have all of that now. Why would I want to hook my­self up with one man when I've had two fan­tas­tic men in my life? One was my hus­band for over 20 years and one was my fi­ancé for six years.”

In The Sun­day Times Rich List 2011, Collins was listed as the UK'S fifth rich­est au­thor, with an es­ti­mated per­sonal for­tune of £60 mil­lion. In 2013, she was ap­pointed Of­fi­cer of the Order of the Bri­tish Em­pire (OBE) Birth­day Hon­ors for ser­vices to fic­tion and char­ity. A mother to three daugh­ters she fought breast can­cer for six years only to lose the bat­tle two weeks be­fore her 78th birth­day, it was 19 Septem­ber 2015. To list a few of her nov­els: The World Is Full of Mar­ried Men (1968) The Stud (1969) Lovers and Gam­blers (1977) Hol­ly­wood Wives (1983) Chances (1981) The San­tan­ge­los (2015)


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