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Namita Gokhale book takes potshots at elite society

New Delhi: Twenty seven years after her debut novel shocked and awed Indian publishing with straight- from-the-shoulder sexual humour, Namita Gokhale is back with another satire that takes potshots at today`s politicians and well-heeled society.

"Yes, I have caricatured society again in my new novel. From the time I have written my first novel `Paro` society has seen many changes. I wanted to do go back to writing social comedy and took characters from the first fiction," Gokhale, who has authored a total of 10 books, told PTI in an interview.

The formula for Delhi`s social networking, its obsession with acronyms used for various civic bodies and the mores of political spouses, society ladies, the working class form the various themes in Gohale`s new novel "Priya: In Incredible Indyaa" that is a take off from her 1984 book,"Paro: Dreams of Passion."

"Paro was a comical novel, funny novel and then as a reaction I went into writing more and more serious books which were fun also but in a different tone," says the 55-year-old author whose bibliography sports non-fiction such as "Mountain Echoes", "The Book of Shiva", "The Mahabharata" and "In Search of Sita – Revisiting Mythology."

Gokhale, who turned publisher at the young age of 17 by bringing out the popular seventies film magazine "Super" from Mumbai says she is now not so clued into films.

"I was deeply into film culture when I was younger and had a ringside view of the happening during my time at `Super` but in Bhutan where they had invited many filmstars like Imtiaz Ali and Madhavan, it did not ring a bell," says the author who was an advisor at the recently concluded Mountain Echoes literary festival in Bhutan.

Through the eyes of a middle class girl who works her way through social and professional ranks to become the wife of a minister, Gokhale`s recent novel takes a sneak peek at Bollywood culture, cricket, gay relationships, infidelity, political hobnobbing, social activism, current economic scenario as well as various events that make it to the daily newspapers.

"Yes I have caricatured society, I do encounter society ladies and their eccentricities never ceases to amaze me. The whole celebrity culture has spawned so much hilarity and triviality," says the author who strives to stick to a timeless storyline while returning to her territory of her first novel.

"At this moment as a publisher, a writer and a festival director I am deeply fascinated by the changes that happening and are waiting to happen in the publishing industry," says Gokhale who helped the Jaipur Literature Festival become a success and is also on the advisory board of festivals like the Hay festival in Thiruvananthapuram and Bhutan festival.

The author says she is fascinated with newer technologies like the Ipad which will revolutionise the written word.

"Technology is enabling new literary possibilities. The book culture will see a tremendous change in the next five years. With facilities like recording and voice reading, you realise you get the voice back with the written word, just like the days of the cave men when they used to narrate stories around the fireplace."

Coming back to the subject of her new novel Gokhale says, "It was fun to go back to writing about the society in Delhi with its contradictions and self importance a sense of privilege and entitlement it implies."

Also, the author says she has not averse to the idea of a the novel being turned into a film.

"I have had loads of movie interest after Paro but there has been no specific offers yet. If somebody comes along I wouldn`t mind," says Gokhale.

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