Rajat Kapoor speaks to Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri on the challenges of playing the lead in an ‘alien’ language
It is by all accounts a bizarre sequence – a middle-aged writer and a young woman in a bathtub on the rooftop of a Los Angeles skyscraper, with heaps of books strewn all around. And what follows over seven episodes is often equally bizarre. Though hampered by rather shoddy writing at times, and though it could have done well with some tightening of the narrative given that it is pitched as a psychological thriller, Rajat Kapoor holds your attention as a successful pulp fiction writer losing his mind (or is he?) who arrives in India and finds his life falling apart.
Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri is either an 'accidental' editor who strayed into publishing from a career in finance and accounts or an 'accidental' finance person who found his calling in publishing. He studied commerce and after about a decade in finance and accounts, he left it for good. He did a course in film, television and journalism from the Xavier's Institute of Mass Communication, Mumbai, after which he launched a film magazine of his own called Lights Camera Action. As executive editor at HarperCollins Publishers India, he helped launch what came to be regarded as the go-to cinema, music and culture list in Indian publishing. Books commissioned and edited by him have won the National Award for Best Book on Cinema and the MAMI (Mumbai Academy of Moving Images) Award for Best Writing on Cinema. He also commissioned and edited some of India's leading authors like Gulzar, Manu Joseph, Kiran Nagarkar, Arun Shourie and worked out co-pub arrangements with the Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Archives, apart from publishing a number of first-time authors in cinema whose books went on to become best-sellers. In 2017, he was named Editor of the Year by the apex publishing body, Publishing Next. He has been a regular contributor to Anupama Chopra's online magazine Film Companion. He is also a published author, with two books to his credit: Whims – A Book of Poems (published by Writers Workshop) and Icons from Bollywood (published by Penguin Books).