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Bollywood stars do some serious writing
Years ago when Shabana Azmi was asked to do a column for a women's magazine, she took the matter dead seriously and wrote on issues she believed in. But she couldn't carry on because of other commitments.
Hema Malini edited a women's magazine, "Saheli", for a while. Aparna Sen divides her time between acting, direction and editing a widely read Bengali magazine, "Sananda".
Preity Zinta has also turned columnist for BBC, with rewarding consequences.
Now it's Manoj Bajpai who has gone on a journalistic journey -- but with a difference. While Preity's column is in English, Manoj will be addressing issues close to his heart in Hindi.
"I've already sent two columns. I'm taking my job as a columnist very seriously," says Manoj.
So is Preity. For her, the word "Bollywood" is a strict no-no.
"Why should the Indian movie industry be known by a name that rhymes with Hollywood?" she reasons passionately. Preity and Manoj will both donate their remuneration to their favourite charity.
The trend towards a literate and articulate film fraternity isn't that new. Until the 1970s, actors were either too self-absorbed or too uneducated to reveal awareness about issues beyond films.
But now, with second-generation and third-generation educated star-children and young people from urbane, cultured backgrounds coming into films, Bollywood need know no longer be dismissed as an area of intellectual darkness.
A number of stars are being approached to write columns and even autobiographies. Dev Anand has already begun work on his autobiography.
Shah Rukh Khan takes time off from his busy schedule to record his thoughts and ideas that will soon be part of a memoir. Rahul Bose dabbles in journalism to address serious issues.
Kamal Haasan has written fiction and his comments on cinema and social issues are fodder for newspaper editorials.