“My book is a chilling story because it goes from immense highs to immense lows a number of times like a rollercoaster”
GN Bureau | July 15, 2021
Penning closed chapters of life and revisiting your past to write a memoir when your wounds may not be old is not easy. Internationally acclaimed Indian actor and television presenter Kabir Bedi’s recently released autobiography, ‘Stories I Must Tell: The Emotional Life of an Actor’, has received rave reviews.
In a live talk with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during the webcast of ‘Masterminds: Master Class on Autobiography’, Bedi said writing the book was a very difficult experience as he had to relive many difficult parts of his life.
“My book is a chilling story because it goes from immense highs to immense lows a number of times like a rollercoaster. It was not easy to write about the difficult parts of my life. I had to revisit many parts of my life – something I didn’t want to as I had made peace with my past. But there was no other way than to go back and feel the pain, joy, exhalation, drama and conflict… let it be there… it was very difficult,” said Bedi.
Bedi achieved overwhelming and unprecedented stardom with his role as pirate ‘Sandokan’ in the mini-series on Italian TV with that title, following which he acted in the James Bond franchise ‘Octopussy’ and later in the popular TV series ‘Bold and the Beautiful’.
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“The hardest thing is to write about your weaknesses and feelings. When you have gone through life and people have given you so much and people have also done terrible things for you… there have been great moments of elations and great moments of sorrows… I can only speak about what happened, speak the truth, talk about what was done to me by others … and talk about what was I to be blamed for… if I accept blame and my fears, I can talk about the feelings of others also,” he said.
The actor said that the most difficult chapter to write was on his son Siddharth’s death. A 25-year-old fresh graduate from Carnegie Mellon University on the verge of a brilliant career in the internet age was suddenly diagnosed with a psychological ailment and committed suicide. “How I tried to prevent him… these were wounds I had to open again. There were relationships, fights, insecurities and … I went into all that. This was painful but I felt it was necessary to tell if I had to share my story.”
Responding to a question on what readers can infer from his book, Bedi said his autobiography is an emotional experience. “They must feel what it is to live the life of an actor in Bollywood, an actor who is vastly successful in Europe, in Hollywood, facing the problem of roles not being written for him and yet managing to get roles and how do you do that … an actor in terrible financial reverses and how to rise from that.”
Bedi said his autobiography is not a self-help book but helps readers to understand what not to do and how to deal with situations. It is an honest account of happenings in his life; that it’s OK to choose an unusual path and to take the road less traveled.
Asked what an author achieves by writing an honest account of his life, the actor said he wants his children, grandchildren, family, friends and readers to know the totality of his life. “What did I feel, what did I experience, what happened to me when I had a crisis in my marriage, what happened to me when I loved intensely, what happened when I lost women I loved, what happens when you have to decide on your career on one side and marriage on the other side? What do you decide? Right or wrong? How do you handle success?” He also said it is equally important to learn how to adapt to changing situations.
Bedi said writing his autobiography was his way of coping with the pandemic. “This was the book that was born in the pandemic, written, released, and being read during the pandemic. The book gave me time to reflect on my life.”
However, despite good reviews and acclaim the book has garnered, Bedi said he still cannot say that he is in a state of Nirvana. “All creativity comes out of dissatisfaction. I would like to believe that there are things I still want to do, ways I want to express and share myself, relate to people, and do things for social good. These dissatisfactions remain… I think they are very positive dissatisfactions.”
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