India Today The Arts

India Today issue dt December 13, 1999
Dec 13, 1999

SPECIAL SERIES

Arundhati Roy, 39
Author-Activist

ANGER INC

There was the Arundhati Roy before The Book. She acted in two films -- In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones and Massey Sahib. She's also scripted In Which Annie ... and Electric Moon. Both were pretty intense, she was pretty angry. Then she took on director Shekhar Kapur and producer Bobby Bedi in the press over Bandit Queen, as averse to mincing words as she is now. Kapur was the filmmaker with established credentials, she was the unknown quantity. She didn't give a damn. "What is (Phoolan Devi) to them? A concept? Or just a c***?" she wrote.

Then came The Book. Over two years after her debut as a novelist,almost precisely two years after she became the first Indian to bag the Booker for the lyrical The God of Small Things, her record advance of Rs 3.5 crore is still publishing legend in India.
Now, there's The Roy after the Booker. She's still intense; first, in an essay against nuclear testing, then on Narmada. It's not activism, she insists. It keeps her in the news. What if people dismiss her as just another talking head? "I don't give a shit what people think," she responds calmly. She says she'll write another book when she has one to write. Meanwhile, this self-confessed "creature of instinct" has her causes. Writing by another name?

 

-Anna M.M.Vetticad

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