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Author Speak : Telling Tales of Life

Author Speak : Telling Tales of Life
Highlights

TV, films, theatre, advertising, team building workshops and now author of 'New Market Tales', Jayant Kripalani has donned many hats and each time...

TV, films, theatre, advertising, team building workshops and now author of 'New Market Tales', Jayant Kripalani has donned many hats and each time only if he was kicked up about the idea aut2Rajeshwari Kalyanam Ganguly Gainjeewala's daughter and her misplaced concept of socialism and equal rights, the ever sleepy Rathikanta aka Atilanta Chatterjee, who seem to know everything and is unwittingly the reason for a major riot in Darjeeling, the stubborn Mesho and his decision to go into Samadhi, Francis, the baker's son who dreamt of being a jewellery designer- 'New Market Tales' are the stories of the legendary Calcutta market told in the most engrossing manner by film, television and stage actor and director Jayant Kripalani 'New Market Tales' are racy and filled with absolutely endearing characters and can easily fit into a screenplay. "They were originally made for a television series," confesses the debut writer who is better known for his television series 'Khandaan', 'Mr Ya Mrs' and 'Ji Mantriji'.
Since when have you been writing stories?
I have never written stories unless they were for television. The stories in 'New Market Tales' are the ones I used to tell my friends. Over a period of time, I converted them to TV screenplays which a producer wanted to produce as The New Market Diaries. However, the channel backed out at the last moment.
And when did you finally decide you could publish them?
I got talking to a friend on Facebook, Divya Dubey, who talked me into writing them as short stories. This happened around the first quarter of 2012. She forwarded the set to Saugata Mukherjee of Picador and the rest is history. Which one of the characters is closest to your heart and why? That's a tough one. I lived with each of these people in my head and in my heart for a long long time. Some I didn't want to share with readers because I was possessive about them and well, in love with them. They were very private relationships I had with the characters. They became extensions of me so I guess all of them are favourites, each for a different reason. At the moment though you have met only a few of them, the ones I could let go off without causing a lot of pain to me. There are many more who need to be 'catharticised' if there is such a word, before I can let them loose on an unsuspecting public.
While writing the stories, did you do it like a screenplay with characters playing out their part. We could visualise the setting in each one of them?
I guess you're right there because I followed the aural tradition of storytelling. If it sounded right in the 'telling', I put it down on paper. So I guess the best way to put it would be that I became the character, enacted out the screenplay and then put it down in prose. In fact the first title of the collection was, "Short Films in Prose".
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How much of it is based on your experience of living in Kolkata? Almost all of it. I was born and brought up within spitting distance of the market and spent many an hour in my father's dhobi shop watching and listening to people talk to my father. It seemed appropriate that they would come and gossip there and often quite unknowingly wash their dirty linen in public.
What about New Market and your association with it?
My old man (father) was also an insurance agent for most of the Sindhi shops there. And since he was a senior citizen (54 years separated him and me) a lot of the shop owners made him privy to their woes. It was only recently when I started telling stories that I realised that as a child, I had listened rather well to their stories.
Some of the stories / most have an underlying emotion!
I tried to be a journalist reporting on times gone by. Francis' senseless death saddened me. 'Atiklanta' becoming an accidental anarchist was funny. I love all my characters. That is the overriding emotion I feel. Look at Mesho. What a guy! Choosing the day of his death and then exercising his choice. In fact in answer to your earlier question, Mesho is definitely a favourite.
What were the challenges in writing and publishing your first book?
Too many. But I don't think I was consciously writing them for publication. I was just having such a marvelous time writing what I thought would be some interesting 'performance' pieces. How much according to you has Kolkata changed and is this your way of keeping your memories of old Kolkata alive?
The city might have changed. I don't know. I don't live there anymore. But the people? Only their ages have changed. They are still the same bunch of mad, insanely glorious Calcutta bastards I have known and I love them. And what's more there are two more generations of these bastards inhabiting Kolkata. Oh yes the name has been changed but Calcuttans or Kolkatans - you've got to love them.
Are you a voracious reader?
When I read, I read avidly. At the moment though, I'm binge-watching television serials. Four seasons of 'The Wire', all of 'Downton Abbey', etc etc. I need to drown myself in unreality. aut4You did TV, but had no qualms in putting a stop to it. The same with movies. You do theatre. � What is it that inspires you to take up a project? What is good and bad according to you � be it cinema or TV
There is nothing good or bad about anything. Who am I to judge what is good or bad? Whatever I'm doing at the moment, I'm doing in the moment. Does it make me cry, does it make me laugh, does it challenge everything I stand for? Does it excite me? Does it give me a hard on? If the answers to all these questions are "yes", I'll do it. If the answer to any one of these is "No" I won't. Is there a full-fledged novel in the offing? Er...yes. I wouldn't have the courage to call it a novel. For the moment let's just call it a very lonnnnnnnng short story.
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