Master storyteller does it again

Master storyteller does it again

In transit

Master storyteller does it again

That too bestsellers, which sell millions of copies. In Bangalore, Jeffrey Archer was keen to talk about his book but Metrolife decided to ask him his views on issues other than his new book, Paths of Glory. Politics and cricket are Jeffrey’s favourite subjects though he says, he left politics ten years ago. In cricket, he hates T20, which alas, has become the toast of the season.

Ask him about politics and he says, “I’m a visitor in your country, I shouldn’t be commenting.” Prod him a little and he can’t help but say: “You have so many parties, it’s a disaster. However, I think this time it will be a stable government. One thing I admire is that your banks are not collapsing because your government is stringent about giving loans whereas in the UK, loans are the first resort.”

When posed with a question on dynasty politics in India, Jeffrey exults that it’s unimaginable in Britain. “Winston Churchill was our PM, his son was a minister and grandson an MP but nobody in England would say that they be made Prime Minister.”

What does he think of India’s neighbour Pakistan? And he reveals that just a few days ago in Delhi, he met with Wasim Akram in the hotel lobby and later they had dinner together where the conversation centred around both, Pakistan and cricket.

He says quoting Wasim, “It suits Pakistan to have Swat-like situation so that they can get more funds from the US.” And he excitedly goes on, “Wasim invited me to Pakistan and said that major cities are safe there.” So is Wasim joining politics like his mentor?

‘‘No, and he also said that it’s very difficult for Imran to ever become the Prime Minister in Pakistan.’’

Is he watching the IPL matches? Jeffrey jokingly roars in response, “I want to blast it, it should be torched.”

It’s a known fact that his work is published in some form or the other every year. Ask him how many more and the response follows before even the question ends, “One every year till I live.” Ask him how does he manage it and the enthusiasm gets tempered with spiritualism,“It’s God’s gift. I can’t explain. But I guess my high energy levels nudge me into writing.”

An interesting development emanating out of his India visit is the germination of an idea to work on his next short story against the backdrop of the country, where even now predominantly parents decide the spouse of their children. “The story of Caste Off is picked up in Mumbai and it will be a part of my new book of short stories Thereby Hangs A Tail,” avers Jeffrey. He has also redrafted and revised his book Kane and Abel after 30 years and he is releasing it on October 3. “Thirty years later, I’m better at it,” he feels. 
Jeffrey has had television mini-series on his books but never a movie. For the Paths of Glory, he has written the screenplay and even found an Oscar-winning director, Bruce Beresford but the quest for a producer remains elusive. “It’s my dream to have a movie based on my book,” he fervently wishes.

So did he see his countryman Danny Boyle’s movie, Slumdog Millionaire? “It was brilliant, had wonderful story but not all Indians have taken the film in the right spirit. The English don’t see India as an impoverished country. Yours is a country of a educated middle class, which is enthusiastic about what it’s achieving. Indians are dominating England at the moment,” he avers.

“People rave about Bollywood now. But there were Merchant and Ivory films much before, which showed India in a positive light. I’ve also seen Lagaan but that was unrealistic. How did the cast manage to wear clean and ironed shirts everyday, when they were fighting for water?” the storyteller reasons.

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