a Win­ner!

In her in-depth rev­e­la­tion of PriYaNKa CHO­Pra’S life, Bharathi S Prad­han, who au­thored Priyanka Cho­pra - ‘The Dark Horse’ speaks to Sub­ho­jit Ghosh about PeeCee, the book, her ex­pe­ri­ence while writ­ing it and a lot more…

Stardust (English) - - STARRY DAZZLE -

What prompted you to write the book ‘Priyanka Cho­pra - The Dark Horse’ ? I was the ed­i­tor of a film monthly when Priyanka won the Miss World crown and I’ve known about the many heart-wrench­ing road­blocks she’s faced since 2000. No­body then would’ve fore­seen that she’d be the global icon she is to­day. I guess it was sim­ply the old jour­nal­ist genes kick­ing in when I saw a good story there and went af­ter it. I’m also at that stage of my life where I want to write in­spi­ra­tional sto­ries. It was the how-to-be-a-win­ner-like-Priyanka tem­plate that tempted me to write The Dark Horse on her. Why only Priyanka Cho­pra and not any other ac­tress? Af­ter any­body reads The Dark Horse, I would like them to tell me that ‘Who else amongst the cur­rent crop of celebri­ties would’ve made a bet­ter story than this Bareilly-to-Bev­erly Hills ac­tress?’ I could’ve writ­ten a sim­i­lar book on a high achiever like Amitabh Bachchan. I have talked to peo­ple who’ve watched him closely, used my in­ter­ac­tions with him in the past and done an in­spi­ra­tional study on how to suc­ceed like him. I’m sure Amit would’ve ap­pre­ci­ated a book like that. How­ever, ev­ery­thing that is there to know about him is al­ready out and there are al­ready over a dozen books on him in the mar­ket. On the other hand, mine is the first ever book on Priyanka and it has un­pub­lished in­side sto­ries that have all been given to me by very highly re­spected names from the film world. You have dared to go in depth about her per­sonal life and dis­closed a lot of things about her per­sonal life in print. Were you at any point of time hes­i­tant or in two minds on whether to go ahead with it or not? First, this kind of book has never be­fore been at­tempted in In­dia. It’s not a bi­og­ra­phy. It’s like Se­cret or a Paulo Coelho or Dale Carnegie book on how to be a win­ner based on a celebrity’s suc­cess story; about her over­com­ing daunt­ing odds. But how do you talk about over­com­ing a hur­dle if you don’t talk about the hur­dle it­self? I merely saw cer­tain

mo­ments in her per­sonal life as speed­break­ers that she had to ne­go­ti­ate to reach where she did. So no, why would I hes­i­tate to write the story the way it hap­pened? You spoke about her re­la­tion­ship with Shah Rukh Khan of six years and also about how Twin­kle Khanna had to step in be­tween to stop Ak­shay from work­ing with Priyanka in films. What were the sources you re­lied on due to which you were sure of the fac­tual cor­rect­ness of what­ever you have said in your book due to which you could get it printed by the pub­lish­ers? Those re­la­tion­ships have al­ways been out there in the pub­lic do­main. Be­sides, I have quoted film­mak­ers like Suneel Dar­shan who told me in a taped in­ter­view, about the Barsaat in­ci­dent. Also, I am of the firm be­lief that it’s ter­ri­bly out­dated and sex­ist to lay em­pha­sis on a woman’s re­la­tion­ships. Wher­ever a re­la­tion­ship is men­tioned in The Dark Horse, it’s more about get­ting up and mov­ing on from there than about the man on the scene. A celebrity like Priyanka has much more go­ing for her than just a cou­ple of re­la­tion­ships which have all been doc­u­mented be­fore. Did you speak to Priyanka Cho­pra be­fore the book got pub­lished? No, I did not and I have three rea­sons for it. I had done a very warm and lovely cover story on her when I was the ed­i­tor of a mag­a­zine and I used quotes from that piece all over the book wher­ever it was rel­e­vant. I have been so upfront about this that right at the be­gin­ning of the book in the copy­right sec­tion, I have stated that her quotes to me were from that in­ter­view. It was to make it clear that her quotes were not specif­i­cally for the book. I had great men­tal clar­ity over the roadmap I had for the book and I got enough and more ma­te­rial from ex­tremely re­spon­si­ble per­son­al­i­ties like Sub­hash Ghai, San­jay Leela Bhansali, Mad­hur Bhan­darkar, Anurag Basu, Ab­basMus­tan, Tarun Man­sukhani, Manish Mal­ho­tra, Farah Khan and many oth­ers. The book is there­fore pep­pered with un­told be­hindthe-scenes in­ci­dents that have all come from these il­lus­tri­ous names. I knew I was writ­ing a book that would be a huge com­pli­ment to Priyanka Cho­pra. Any ac­tor would be flat­tered that such a book has been writ­ten on her or him, no­body has writ­ten a book like this on any In­dian celebrity so far. But I wanted my cre­ative in­de­pen­dence to write it the way I wanted to. I didn’t want man­agers and sundry oth­ers want­ing vet­ting rights over my man­u­script. So what next for Bharathi Prad­han, the au­thor? Plenty, plenty. An au­thor who had an­nounced an unau­tho­rised bi­og­ra­phy on Priyanka Cho­pra many months ago, sent me a mes­sage say­ing I turned out to be chhu­parus­tom be­cause his book is yet to be re­leased while mine is al­ready out and is trend­ing No 1 on Ama­zon. I’m work­ing on three nonfiction books and two fic­tion nov­els but I won’t breathe a word about any of them or re­veal any names un­til they’re ready to hit the book stores. What kind of re­ac­tion and re­views have you re­ceived so far from the read­ers? As men­tioned above, it was the No 1 Best­seller on Ama­zon. My pub­lish­ers, ‘Om Book In­ter­na­tional’ are over the moon and the write­ups and re­views have been unan­i­mously, ‘wow!’ I’ve had re­ac­tions from read­ers and fans that they found it a fas­ci­nat­ing and un­put­down­able read. But I think it’s tak­ing time for peo­ple to un­der­stand that this is not a tell-all bi­og­ra­phy. It’s way be­yond be­ing one. I wish they wouldn’t keep re­fer­ring to The Dark Horse as a bi­og­ra­phy. Lastly, your favourite per­son­al­i­ties from the film in­dus­try whose life in­ter­est you in some way or the other? I re­ally can’t an­swer this be­cause that would be re­veal­ing what my next book is all about. What­ever or who­ever in­ter­ests me shall be the sub­ject of my next book. But I can prom­ise you that Star­dust will be the first to know about it and it’ll once again be a hot-sell­ing book that no­body would’ve ever thought of writ­ing.

Bharathi Prad­han

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