Richa Lakhera was kind enough to accept my request of interviewing her over e-mail. Just like her book Garbage Beat, this interview is again an in-your-face kind of stuff. I personally enjoyed her responses to my questions. Here is what she had to say
Me : Did you always wanted to be an author or is it because of your work that made you think about writing a book ?
Richa : I invest deeply in several ideas and random notions. I don’t know what drives what Since the time I could talk and write I have been spinning yarns, telling tales. I think if I could literally translate some of my dreams into a book I will have a blockbuster. Yes I love to engage with ideas and predicaments and notions all the time and I don’t know whether I wanted to be an ‘author’ but I have always loved to tell a good story. But I don’t limit my storytelling to words only. I am an artist www.richalakhera.com and people say each of my painting suggests a story. Science is a big inspiration. So is Art.
Richa : In the ecosystem of news there is an exasperating stereotyping wherein entertainment or bollywood reporting is not really considered a serious beat or even mainstream journalism. Its tagged as popcorn journalism, lipstick brigade or the bollys…someone said once that if news is like food then entertainment is junk food which like fizzys and pizzas which are spicy and tasty but provide no ‘real’ nourishment. ‘Garbage’ came from there.
Me : We already have the blurb of your book, tell us something more about “Garbage Beat”?
Richa : It’s a scandalous, provocative, outrageous, shocking and funny tale of the big bad world of TV journalists and bollywood. Five fiercely competitive journalists spend their lives covering Bollywood stars 24X7. They cover their fiascos, foibles, scandals, controversies, loveaffairs, breakups, jhagdas-lafdas and how their constant ‘reporteri’ mutates their lives and they end up having experiences which excite, sometimes humiliate and hurt, scare, terrify, overwhelm them at different levels and since its Bollywood and TV world everything is absurd and more outlandish and larger than life.
Me : Paid news is not an unheard of concept. Planted stories are not unheard of.
Richa : While ‘tamasha’ is an inherent part of showbiz across the globe. In the west it’s a multimillion dollar bizness, India we have just started taking the baby steps. Thrills and scandals and controversies get reported more. But masala has a shelf live gets spent and then the audience starts looking for new sensations new ‘news’. Specially when films are being released etc you would see more of these ‘scandals’ breaking etc it helps the stars to stay in news too. Things go wrong when the media reports something which does not compliment the stars. Then some of characters can hit back quite ferociously.
Me : How long did it take you to write your book and how tough was it for you to find a publisher ?
Richa : Actually it was quite easy. Beginners luck perhaps but I think I signed the contract within 24 hours. My second book (Item Girl) too has not been a struggle at all.
Me : You recently went to Karachi Literary Festival. Please share your experience.
Richa : Warm and Memorable. I went to talk about my book Garbage Beat and had sessions with screenwriter and novelist Farrukh Dhondy, novelists Madeline Clement and Qaisra. Interestingly lots of young people in Pakistan want to be TV journalists, especially quite a few girls. I had parents coming up to me to ask about careers in TV, Radio and print journalism! Also there is immense interest in Karachi about Bollywood stars and the readers found the content of garbage beat, lets say, quite exciting. At Geo channel which is a Pakistani news channel there were lots of questions about my book as with FM 9 which had audience questions on Bollywood and TV journalism. The best part was meeting with authors from across the world from Pakistan, Germany, UK and of course India. I made time to see Karachi, went to the 200 year old Abdullah Shah’s Mazaar( he is the patron saint of Karachi), also picked up carpets and shawls at Clifton and Uzma bazaar, went to the beautiful Mohatta palace and the Clifton beach, and of course sampled delicious Pakistani cuisine.
Richa : Wow is that possible to answer? Your second question…what I do when I don’t report and write and paint… I bring up my six year old daughter.
Me : Your favourite books and authors ?
Richa : Oscar Wilde ( for Dorian gray and happy prince)
Charles Dickens (for Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations)
Ayn Rand ( for The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged)
Stephen king ( for Misery, Needful Things, Hearts in Atlantis)
And Of course, the king and the queen of lit : JRR Tolkein and JK Rowling
Me : Would you be writing more books ?
Richa : Item Girl – completed. Coming out this year.
Death of an Actor – working on.
I am excited about my next which will be an out and out sci-fi thriller –next.
So, that was Richa Lakhera at her best. I personally enjoyed reading her book Garbage Beat and you can read my review here.
Also, you can get in touch with her over Twitter @Lakhera_Richa