You can listen to Gautam’s interview by clicking below
Discussion with Gautam
- Gautam’s great grandfather was an editor of a newspaper called The Leader, his maternal grandfather was a poet and a film writer who wrote films for N T Ramarao and The Train for Rajesh Khanna and Farz for Jitendra.
- His journey as a film columnist came out of his passion for watching films. He started blogging in the early 2000s, when he wrote a couple of stories and worked in TV industry in Mumbai.
He also used to review movies, but now writes about the film industry. He began as a freelancer for Mid Day in Delhi.
Difference between writing columns and writing a book is similar to playing T-20 cricket versus Test Match cricket. Column or blogs are on a particular topic, whereas writing a book is a longer journey that needs to be paced out.
Between 2003 and 2007-08 Gautam would write 1,000 words everyday. While writing his debut novel, he wrote 3,000 words on many instances.
You need to find a space and you need to find the mental rhythm to enjoy writing.
Gautam’s approach to bookwriting
Gautam starts writing the book from the middle, and takes it to the end. This helps him in overcoming the mental blocks and any self doubt.Gautam’s Debut novel: The Dark Star
According to Gautam, the title of his debut book has a resonance with Star Wars, but the title is a Happy Coincidence. Shantanu Roychodhuri, Gautam’s editor at Harper Collins, came up with the title. The title is a play on words on the personality of the actor Rajesh Khanna.
Gautam wrote three articles after the death of the Actor that triggered the writing of the book. He interviewed several persons from the film industry who had worked with J. Om Prakash (producer), Salim Khan (Scriptwriter) while researching for his book. He did not meet the immediate family for a variety of reasons, as the focus was largely cinema and his acting.
Majority of Gautam’s research involved watching the films of Rajesh Khanna and interviewing industry experts and insiders.
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (QSQT)
QSQT was supposed to be Gautam’s first book. Around that time, he wanted to write a book on Stardom in Bollywood between 1947 and 2000.
This book is based on the film by the same name. Gautam considers this film that changed the course of film industry in India in the late 1980s
His book talks about the movie industry in the mid 1980s and the impact this film has on contemporary cinema.
In early 1980s, five different generations of filmmakers were working between 1980 and 1985.But after that period, till 1988, the quality of films really dropped considerably.
QSQT was Nasir Hussein’s interpretation of Romeo and Juliet.Mansoor Khan Nasir Hussein’s son, was the director of the film. He went to IIT Bombay, Cornell and MIT but he never finished his education because he thought it was inhibiting his skills.
The entire cast and crew of the movie QSQT was new or relatively inexperienced with filmmaking.
This film was unique in many ways and Gautam explains in depth how the craft and the emption depicted in the filmmaking make it pathbreaking.
The Book is in a way a Biography of the film “QSQT”. The title, translated in English, means “From One Calamity To Another”
The font used for the cover of the book resembles the front used in the movie poster
Gautam’s book explores why this film is considered a milestone. The original title of the film was Nafrat Ke Waris (Heirs of Hatred).Upcoming Books
Gautam is working on two book ideas. One is based on the film Pink, which has become a milestone film within a week of its release. For his second book, he got the idea during the Kumaun Literary Festival. This book is based on the 50 worst Hindi films, which explores why these films were bad.
Gautam’s book publishing experience has been very positive. He believes that publishers are looking for new writers, and they are looking for different topics for books. Social media plays a big role in connecting writers with publishers.
Rapid Fire Round
Gautam’s all time favourite book is the Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald. He likes it because it is a story of hope and story of losing hope.
All time favourite films are Vijay Anand’s Guide and Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. QSQT remains another of his favourites.
Ways to connect with Gautam
Gautam Chintamani’s Bio:Gautam Chintamani is the author of the best-selling Dark Star: The Loneliness of Being Rajesh Khanna (2014). His writing has featured in national publications, including a compilation on Dadasaheb Phalke Awardees published by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Legends of Indian Silver Screen. He was on the National Film Awards jury for Best Writing on Cinema in 2016. Gautam is the great-grandson of literarian Sir C.Y. Chintamani and the grandchild of Telugu poet laureate Arudra and noted feminist writer K. Ramalakshmi. He and his wife, Amrita, along with their dog, Buddy, live in Gurgaon and in the hills of Himachal.
This post was updated on 2016-12-22