Twinkle Khanna is a columnist, author, interior designer and actor. She chats with Prachi Pinglay-Plumber on the sci-fi she read as a 15-year-old, the first book of fiction she has penned and everything in between.
How hard is it to be constantly spontaneous and witty in your writing?
My way of looking at life is not straightforward; it’s whimsical. I think people find me funny because sometimes the truth is actually funny. We cloak it with so many layers and become sanctimonious about it. Recently, I was asked why I didn’t change my surname, I just said I am married, not branded, but people thought it was a witty reply. It was just the truth. I am not a small firm being taken over by a big corporation, so I have to change my logo. That was my logic.
Has the social media phenomenon grown on you?
I love Twitter. Here I get pieces of information quickly, and I also get myriad viewpoints rather than a one-sided view from a particular newspaper. Here I have got a topic and 11 viewpoints and I can judge for myself.
Despite writing in lighter vein, you are often talking about very serious subjects...
Do you think it can be an accident? There are things which bother me, especially when it comes to gender equality. It is subliminal, it is rampant. It is to a level where even ‘liberated’ people don’t realise that perhaps their point of view is not of equality. And it’s not just in our country. So yes, it deeply affects me. But when you are preaching, nobody is listening. When you make them laugh, make them see how absurd something is, the way they look at it is altered forever. It works.
Do you feel scrutinised because of your background—daughter of superstars, married to a superstar?
She is from Bollywood, how can she speak like this, how can she write, does she read? I got that a lot, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. Am I under pressure? No. That is the good thing about getting older. You stop trying to prove anything. You just do what you please and enjoy it. Now you are living on, well, not exactly borrowed but extended time. Had I bothered how people would think, I would not have written that first column.
Do people expect you to be witty all the time?
No, people don’t because I crack jokes anyway. I am not a performing seal. In your writing, you are tapping into the part that is “the best” in you. But what you are also filters through in your writing—your prejudices, your bitterness. I am not a pretentious person.
Are you comfortable with the rapid tech-driven changes in the way we produce and consume information?
I have been reading sci-fi since I was 15. All these things that are here now were already there in the books written way back in the 1960s. I am living in the world that I always dreamed of. I am still not living in a world where you can teleport matter from one place to another just by atoms. We haven’t reached there yet.
Your next book will be out soon...
All I can tell you now is that it will be out sometime in December. And it isn’t Mrs Funnybones Part 2. It is a work of fiction. There’s a little bit of a leap there.
It is believed that Bollywood stars don’t stick their neck out, they don’t speak out...
I don’t think that is true. Last year, they have spoken about things and got into trouble. Some people are diplomatic, some people are outspoken, but the next generation is very clear. People are speaking their mind out. People are worried about other things, besides their own careers. It’s not accurate to say that they don’t speak out. Not anymore.