REMEMBER the days of sitting in a cafe, snatching a few hours to pen your thoughts, ordering your fifth cup of black coffee and typing away on your laptop before you know its dinner time?
The dual perspective of both the underdog writer in a pit of depression and striking allure of the juvenile model has many an authoress shaped.
Introducing Neeta Shah – this gorgeous half Gujarati, half Parsi lass chose rather to take the high road and become renowned for her brains instead of her beauty.
But when you have a killer combo of beauty, brains and business – she’s a chartered accountant too – your ‘bestseller’ tag isn’t far behind.
So just what is it about Neeta Shah that makes her debut work of fiction Bollywood Striptease the talk of the town?
For starters, the film rights of the book have already been acquired, before the book made it to the shelves, by IROCK (Ragini MMS & Rock the Shaadi).
I met the author at a coffee house ahead of the grand launch of her book, where she orders her gingerbread latte and a sandwich.
She’s a tad nervous – actually a lot! She sips her coffee and in a fraction of a second a surreal lovefest of words flow... mixed with over the top excitement and occasional loss of words – and the lovefest continued.
Here’s an illustrious interview with the glamorous Neeta Shah. It’s couch, coffee and conversation time.
DEVANSH PATEL: How did the name of the book originate?
NEETA SHAH: When I started writing the book and finished writing, I thought, ‘what can be the apt name for the book?’ The idea came about from a naive coffee conversation while I was briefing my friends about the many real life incidents that my friends have gone through in the film industry. Some were really heart breaking, while some were success stories too. The book was factual but fictionalised and the only name that came to my mind was Bollywood Striptease because it ‘strips Bollywood naked’.
DP: Was it a tough wait to find publishers for your book?
NS: This is my first book. So far I’ve always done writing for production houses. I had Jacaranda, my agents, who represented me. They told me that once they pitched my book’s contents to the publishers, it would take a minimum of six months to green light the book. I waited patiently. Within three weeks I got a call from my agents saying that Rupa publishers were interested in publishing it and the deal was on.
DP: How much is fiction and how much is non-fiction?
NS: I wanted to pen my experiences. It’s not only my own experiences but my friends too. Seventy-five per cent of the content is real. I can’t give names or I’ll get in deep trouble. Honestly, the writer in me was unlocked by my mentor and IROCK chief executive Siddharth Jain. He was the one who told me that I could write. One thing leads to another and here I am waiting for my book to get launched this evening.
DP: Any plans of adapting the book into a movie?
NS: For the first time ever in the the publishing world the book rights for a film have already been sold even before the book is out in the market. IROCK bought my book rights a week before the book even hit the stores. Things are happening so quickly, I can’t believe it. God willing it’s all fallen in place.
DP: Which celebrities are gracing the event?
NS: My book launch is going to be a star-studded affair. Luckily, no one is going to be stripping (laughs). Riya Sen is going to be unveiling Bollywood Striptease. I’ve invited a few friends and colleagues from the film industry – Punit Malhotra, Tarun Mansukhani, R Balki, Rensil D’Silva, Neetu Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Angad Bedi, Adah Sharma, Rohit Roy, Mrinalini Sharma, Shekhar Kapur, Anthony D’Souza, Dabboo Ratnani, Kunal Roy Kapur and a few studio heads from UTV, Shree Ashtavinayak, Big Pictures, and so on. A few television personalities are also invited.
DP: Any plans to write your second book?
NS: My next creation is going to be a sequel to Bollywood Striptease. I can’t reveal how this book ends but get geared up to know what happens in the sequel. I will be penning it down soon.
DP: Name your top five favourite movies?
NS: My favourite Bollywood movies are Maine Pyaar Kiya, DDLJ, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, 3 Idiots and Delhi Belly. I have a fetish for love stories but sometimes I can go to extremes, and that’s why I mentioned Delhi Belly (laughs).
DP: What’s the most scandalising segment in the book?
NS: There is a section in my book called ‘red alert’ that comes after a few chapters. It is to caution people about certain aspects that commonly happen and take place in Bollywood. Each red alert segment is scandalising.