Bestselling author, publisher, columnist
Her rapier sharp wit, her incisive writing, her penchant to call a spade a spade have all contributed to her signature style over the years. She spares none as a social commentator. Author, columnist, fashion designer, socialite and now publisher, Shobhaa De continues to reinvent herself as years roll on. The twice married mother of six works at her own pace (she still writes her columns in a longhand scrawl seated at her dining table), by her own admission, has “calluses the size of cashew nuts” owing to her compulsive writing and locks in tweets, blogposts and a scathing critique of current events into her hectic daily schedule.
Shobhaa De stands unequalled in proficiency and panache. She has scripted popular serials like ‘Swabhimaan’ and ‘Kitty Party’, spawned the use of Hinglish in writing and morphed into an ace at spotlighting cruel home truths, especially for women. India’s best selling authoress in pulp fiction, De has often being dubbed as India’s Jackie Collins. A tag she doesn’t exactly treasure – although four of her 13 novels feature in the post-graduate popular culture curriculum of the University of London.
She writes in her 1998 book ‘Selective Memory: Stories from My Life’, “We were taught early in life that nothing comes easy, nothing is delivered on a platter”. Born Shobhaa Rajadhyakasha in Maharashtra in 1948, Dé graduated from St. Xavier’s College, Bombay with a degree in Psychology and began a career in journalism in 1970. She then founded and edited three popular magazines – Stardust, Society and Celebrity. As the country’s most widely read columnist today, De wields the power to shape and mobilise public opinion through her musings. Her columns in Bombay Times, The Sunday Times and The Week have a mindboggling estimated readership of over 10 million a month.
Dé launched her line of designer saris a few years ago and has now partnered with Penguin to publish books under her own imprint: Shobhaa De Books. Her books such as Socialite Evenings and Sultry Days, were launched by Simon & Schuster in Britain and have been translated and published along with a couple of others in Italian and Korean! One – Starry Nights – is a bestseller in Hindi as well.
Shilpi Madan in conversation with the indefatigable Shobhaa Dé, who at 60, has no plans to rest on her laurels.
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