Justalkin Ep 11: Celebrities who turned authors
Was one of your new year resolutions to read more? Or have you been doing lesser and lesser of that and moving more to your phone or laptop screen? But here’s what we don’t stop and think about - the same guys who make those movies or are in the movies and TV shows we’re watching, have actually gone on to write - stuff that has nothing to do with movies. In this podcast, we’re going to introduce you to a few celebs who have found their way with words.
She calls herself Mrs. Funnybones - she had famous parents, a husband who’s still very much a commercial movie star, and she had so many hits herself as a leading lady! But then she decided to take a break from the silver screen and concentrate on her personal life instead. We’ve seen so many comebacks in the past few years, but not Twinkle Khanna - she entered the scene with a bang - she was in your face and she wasn’t holding anything back! So far she’s written a book called Mrs Funnybones - what she calls herself, and then she followed that up with a book called The Legend of Laxmiprasad - this is a collection of four stories that like to be called feminist, and her most recent book is called Pyjamas are forgiving, which is fiction. She also slips in articles on a regular basis, and treats the world to her opinion on whatever catches her fancy. She’s not to mince her words, but what she also is, is a big old sport! She lets us into her world and doesn't shy away from laughing at herself - we don’t get too many authors who do that so she’s kinda refreshing that way.
Madonna has tons of records to her credit when it comes to her music. But, according to some reports, she also holds the record for writing the largest-grossing illustrated book of all time. And it is very simply called ‘Sex’. She teamed up with Steven Meisel, one of the world’s most famous fashion photographers, to produce a series of photo essays, each with a different sexual theme. And though it came out 26 years back, there’s still nothing that comes even close to breaking the barriers that this did.
In 2003, she wrote a picture book called ‘The English Roses’, which contains stories about girls who go out there and do things, and not wait for things to happen like in some fairy tales, and she named all the characters after her daughter’s friends in school. Not something you’d expect Madonna to do if you were a fan of her songs like ‘Papa don’t Preach’, but Mama knows how to write!
A lot of men remember growing up fantasizing about Carrie Fisher - probably grew up because of her. She’s written quite a few books - one that’s her memoir, a romance novel that’s called ‘Surrender the Pink’, and in 1987 she wrote a semi-autobiography called ‘Postcards from the Edge’. She’s also written a one-woman broadway show, and didn’t shy away from writing about her problems either - her 2008 book was called ‘Wishful Drinking’ She wrote another book called the ‘Princess Diarist’, and this is all based on her diary entries when she was 19 years old and was cast as Princess Leia, and how she was suddenly so famous and didn’t know what was happening! She’s amusing, she’s sardonic, she’s witty, and extremely smart!
Rishi Kapoor lashes out at anybody who makes fun of him or of anything or anybody he likes, but that’s not all. Chintu decided to treat us all to the ups and downs in his life and career with a book - his autobiography which he called Khullam Khulla. And it isn’t just about his career in the movies - it talks about him being scared of his dad, being a dad himself, the co-stars he liked, the co-stars he didn’t like, and the many love conquests both him and his dad went on, and how the camera was a part of his life since he was 16 years old. He was the blue-eyed boy of Bollywood in an era of legends - he talks about the fun and challenging bits of it, and also lets us into the really huge Kapoor Khandaan and what his equation is like with each of them. He prides himself on speaking his mind, and he’s one of the people who doesn’t worry about offending people - he says things, and after that it’s the other person’s problem, so this autobiography really is a tell-all - Rishi Kapoor’s Khullam Khulla.
Critically acclaimed film-maker and an equally versatile author. Woody Allen has written essays, plays, novels, and a lot of biographies too. This man doesn’t rest at all, but he lets neither himself nor his fans stop and take pride in his work. He once famously said, “I’m a firm believer that when you’re dead, naming a street after you doesn’t help your metabolism.”
So he treads on and writes and makes movies like he doesn’t care about the outcome. He wasn’t one to worry about a humour piece titled “Now where did I leave my Oxygen tank” - he let it be. He writes about people, about his experiences, and about what he reads. His style of writing is exactly what he looks like - the godless, the award-shunning, workaholic who doesn’t give a damn about reviews, and writes and says what he feels like.
This man has done it all - a radio host, a TV host, award show host, a singer, a Shaayar, and an excellent actor who constantly surprises us with his choice in scripts. He also decided to pick up his pen and write about making it in the land of dreams - he called it ‘Cracking the code: My journey in Bollywood’. What's great about this book is that it isn’t just an insider’s account of how he made it into the movies - it talks about being an outsider, about the struggle, and how easy it is to get lost in the city that never sleeps. He wrote it along with his wife - Tahira Kashyap, and he’s honest, witty, and very insightful. He’s that rare breed of a succesful man who is also a very good person. Check out ‘Cracking the Code’.
He is not somebody you want to cross - he will let you know what he thinks, whether it’s on social media or in his interviews. There’s a huge difference between being straightforward and rude, but Naseeruddin Shah has never known that!
He’s had such an eventful life - theatre, acting in movies, and he’s built quite a reputation for himself in parallel cinema. So he decided it would be a great idea to write about it, and so he penned down a memoir and called it, “And then one day”. The only thing you won’t know about him is his birth date because, weird as it is, he isn't sure about that one thing! He tells you the story about his struggle to make it, but there’s no drama involved - he saves it all for the screen! You’ll like it if you’re a fan of the man, or if you like someone who’s particular about their grammar.
Kareena Kapoor Khan
Kareena Kapoor Khan is a Diva - comes from a long line of actors and owns it, she’s a mom, a wife, she doesn’t shy away from having a good time and talking about it. So when she decided to write, it reflects her public persona perfectly. It was a book about how she liked to look - plain, simple, and what her fans would love to know.
She called it ‘The style diary of a Bollywood Diva’ and she isn’t shy about telling you her love for jeans that cost 7000 bucks - not like we’ll all buy them, because sometimes one item of clothing she lists might cost as much as your wardrobe. But she didn’t set out to write a book about how she’s the regular Indian girl - she tells you how you can be a Diva.
Apart from being an actor, comedian, producer, and musician, Steve Martin knows how to write - and write well. He wrote a collection of essays and short stories called ‘Cruel Shoes’, and he’s also written stuff for children, there’s one called ‘Late for School’ - we’ve all been there, done that!
He’s written a Novella called ‘ShopGirl’, a musical called ‘Bright Star’, a play called ‘The Underpants’ because why not! His memoir is called ‘Born standing up’, and he writes about how even when you’re so humorous, life isn’t always fun. He tells you the trajectory of his career in a smart, honest, confessional manner and is one of those rare occasions you’ll find him serious.
And just like he does on the screen, he leaves you laughing, but also gives you something to think about.
Britney Spears was synonymous with Pop in her heyday, and although her baby voice sometimes got a little annoying, her videos more than made up for that. So when she wrote a book, you’d think it had all the details about the crazy parties she went to, all the stuff she did that she shouldn’t have, and basically what it was like being ‘Toxic’, but it’s called ‘Heart to Heart’, and she wrote it with her mom.
But it’s not all PG 13, you’ll know more about Britney’s love life, her rise to fame and something every person has struggled with - your relationship with you mom. She’s not the best author so she makes up for it with a lot of pictures you wouldn’t see otherwise.
There are plenty more actors and directors who’ve ventured into writing - like Shilpa Shetty wrote about fitness, Sonali Bendre wrote about the struggles of being a mom, Tom Hanks wrote a collection of short stories called ‘Uncommon Type’
They all have stories to tell, and sometimes, books work better than movies.