The Man Behind Don's Wife


Don’s Wife by Vinod Pande


The Plot
Kamini was a lethal combination of beauty and inner radiance. She was the enigmatic wife of the dreaded underworld don Harsh Jadhav, the firebrand leader of an emerging new party, an icon for the youth, an idol of the world of glitter and glamour, and a revered social reformer. She was the target of several dastardly attempts on her life in different cities of the world and was finally assassinated by unidentified gunmen in the most unlikely of places – the porch of her own house. With two mortal shots, death had snatched her life from her and what a life! She could have launched a million brands with her beauty and her exceptional brilliance. A born rebel, she defiantly left her cosy home and family to marry a man she loved. A man, she was to learn rather late in the day, who was the son of one of the most feared mobsters in the country. Here was a woman who went beyond societal mores in her passionate relationships. Kamini’s life is a saga of revenge and hope, of aspirations and betrayals, of human tragedies and triumphs. A story of tall men and an even taller woman where heroes were not only heroes and villains were not only villains. The story of Kamini, as powerful in death as she was in life
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When I got the first book of the Film Maker Vinod Pande to read and review, I was pretty excited. Known for many years in the industry for his hard hitting cinema, I expected the same from his book. After reading Don’s Wife I had mixed feelings about the book. I loved the plot and the characterisation. The chance to interview The Film Maker, author provided me with an opportunity to understand his book and his process of writing more.

Sir, thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

Q1) Writing is tiring and taxing and requires a lot of dedication and hard work why did you choose to write a book now especially after having a successful career as a film maker and was it difficult?

A1) It depends what you are writing and whether your heart is in it or not. Yes it’ll be tiring and taxing if what you are writing is a kind of assignment as part of a job, which you don’t much enjoy. I found that writing my novel was rather therapeutic for me. In my low moments, if I did write even half a page of my book, it worked as an elixir to free me from my depressions or self doubts of the moment.

For me writing my novel was an escape route from a sense of failure that was beginning to grip me for the rough patch I had hit in my supposedly ‘a successful career as a film maker’. Whether you make a film or write a book, essentially what you are doing is, is to trying to express yourself as a creative person on matters close to your heart. For making even a small film, you need good size investment, which you might discover has begun to dry up lately for not only your questionable commercial record in recent past but also the advancing years which are inseparable from you in terms of age. For writing, you only need you and a computer. And then confidently you step into the land of deliverance. A vista of true freedom! But let me assure you, writing has done more wonders for me. It has filled me with zest all over again to try and make a much cherished film, “DIN KE ANDHERE MEIN”, a moving story about honour killing.

No, it was not difficult really, to write. Perhaps I always aspired to be one. Only some kind of unexplained fear kept me from it. But once I was face to face with the first paragraph, I found that it was not I who was clicking the keys; instead it was the story which was navigating my fingers on the key board.  

Q2) Now a days the popular novels in the market are much shorter and based on shorter timelines, did the length of your book and the fact that it traces the lives of the characters over decades ever be a cause for worry to you?

A2) Even a paragraph is too long if it is meaningless and uninteresting. Likewise even three thousand pages are not too much if they are engaging and interesting. A case in point is Gregory David Roberts’ 999 page novel, “SHANTARAM” a highly captivating piece of work of a first time author who used to be high security prisoner in Australia. Being a captive of a trend has never been very enticing for me. I had a loose graph about the plotline of the story and the life sketch of the characters in my mind that became my beckon to move on with my heart spilling onto the pages. 

Q3) What is the writing process for you? Are there any particular rituals that you follow while writing?

A3) I follow no process, no particular ritual while writing. I am very lazy, undisciplined and erratic as a writer. It’s a kind of sudden flush which comes to you unexpectedly when you may be caught up by something completely different or seized by utter inertia, and then, then you just let yourself go at it… 

Q4) Kamini, what was your inspiration to write her?

A4) Kamini is a dream we aspire for, a mirage we chase, a sketch we paint from colours spewing out of the deep recesses of our heart. Kamini is not a single identity, she is many women merged into one.

Q5) When I read your book, I felt that it is like God father from the Women’s Point Of View, is there an influence of the book or the movie have on you as a filmmaker and writer?

A5) If my book posits the reverberations of God father in you, I feel truly humbled by your estimation. I never read the book but had certainly seen the film in my early youth. Michael’s character as a reluctant don ridden with incapacitating emotions of dread and loss and guilt are too intoxicating to not get affected for any creative person in the field of films and writing. Unwittingly it must have left an imprint on me as well. But even so Harsh is not Michael by any yardstick. If he is too brittle and ruthless as a don, he is also too fragile as well as vindictive as a human.  

Q6)  Do you read often and which is your favourite genre to read?

A6)  Yes, I read a lot. My poison is current affairs.

Q7) Who is your favourite author and which is your favourite book?

A7) My favourite author is Jeffrey Archer. My favourite book: KANE & ABEL.

Q8) Which is the one character that you wish you had written?

A8) No one can recreate iconic characters of such celebrated books. Nevertheless, I would have been drawn to have a go at Abel’s character.

Sir thank you once again for taking the time and for giving me such heartfelt, and candid and in depth answers. I wish you and Don’s Wife great success.

Meet the Author
Vinod Pande is a producer, writer, editor and award winning director whose body of work includes films such as Ek Baar Phir (1979), Yeh Nazdikeeyan (1982) and Sins (2005) among many others. He has also made popular TV shows such as Airhostess (1985-86) and Reporter (1992-97). He worked as programming head for Sahara TV (1997-2000). “The Don’s Wife” marks his debut as a published author. 
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