A screenplay writer, a playwright and novelist—how do you shift from one role to the other?
I just go from one to the other the moment I am bored with a particular form. All it involves is writing.
Though born and based in England, your work has a distinct subcontinental influence. Comment.
My father came from India. That is the world I know. Immigration, exile, living in a strange country, the question of identity— these aspects form the subject matter of my works.
What explains the tension and conflict among characters in your works?
I don't want the plots to slow down unnecessarily, and the elements of conflict and tension among characters are essential to make my stories move.
How do you view your contemporaries from India?
I liked The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth. I also liked the first novel of Amitav Ghosh. But frankly, I don't read much.
So, what brings you to India?
Nothing specific. It's my first visit in the '90s. I have come to see the Taj and travel.
You have directed the film London Kills Me and scripted others like My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid. What next?
I have scripted My Son the Fanatic, which stars Om Puri, Harish Patel and others. It will be released soon.
After classics like The Buddha of Suburbia and The Black Album, are you planning to write any new ones?
To be published soon is a collection of short stories titled Love in a Bluetime.
As a novelist in Britain, isn't your position somewhat similar to Caryl Phillips, the Carribean writer based in England?
Caryl is a good friend. And yes, our position is similar as both of us write from here and there, from within and outside the white community.
When does one expect a new novel?
There will be some more short stories. But no novel for now.
Why not? Is it due to shortage of time, or something else?
I don't have a story.