She walks in the rain, gets drenched and writes on monsoon and Malabar. The next day, she takes an adventurous trip to the forest or makes a raft to sail across a river. The journeys never end, so do her experiments with the pen. Anita Nair’s shift from literary novel to ‘literary crime novel’ (in her words) is an extension of her adventurous nature.
“Following the same routine and writing the same stuff is boring. I wanted to give it(crime fiction) a try,” she says. “I keep shifting roles, travelling to places and writing for two or three projects at the same time,” the author of ‘Better Man’ and ‘Ladies Coupe’ said during a short visit to the city.
Anita Nair’s latest work, ‘Cut Like Wound,’ a crime thriller, will be made into a movie soon. The project is in its initial stage and discussions are going on with a Hollywood production company as well as a Mumbai production house.”Whichever firm the book requires for its on-screen realization, will be chosen,” she says. Two upcoming Malayalam films will have her story and script. One is for a new director and the second one is for Salam Bappu, the director of ‘Red Wine’.
Kozhikode plays a significant role in the author’s new book ‘Idris’, a historical trilogy, which is also set in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The first part of the book will come out in January next year. Harper Collins India will publish it in English and Mathrubhumi Books is the Malayalam publisher.
The plot revolves around the life of an East African voyager, Idris, who marries Kuttimalu from Kozhikode and a son, Kandavar, is born. The father and the son set out for a voyage from Kozhikode and cover the planet.
“For each work, I use metaphors. In ‘Idris’, the voyage, in ‘Mistress,’ Kathakali and in ‘Lessons in Forgetting,’ cyclone,” Anita Nair said.
While ‘Ladies Coupe’ was an instant outpour of happenings that tempted me to write while working for an advertising agency, ‘Mistress’ took a longer germination period, with the author quitting the job and enrolling herself as a student at Kalamandalam and getting trained under guru K Gopalakrishnan.
While admitting that she doesn’t follow Malayalam literature promptly, the author says her latest pick is T D Ramakrishnan’s ‘Francis Ittycora’.
“Short novels are like tasting menu. Writing in capsule format is always dissatisfying for the reader. They get no full-fledged experience out of it,” she says.
Anita Nair’s love for animals doesn’t stop at letting 12-13 monkeys feed on her garden every day and stray cats and dogs to have shelter at her place. She has an active role in the promotion of Wildlife Trust of India and forces the corporate sponsors to donate for the rehabilitation of domestic elephants instead of paying her.
“I am a disciplined writer and writes almost every day, except on weekends. While writing from the upstairs of my house, I can see monkeys entering our courtyard and eating whatever fruits we have in the garden. We have grabbed their (animals’) land, let’s give something back to them,” she says.
The author repeats her objection towards being branded as a feminist writer. “Classification of writings is better as historical, crime or science, why categorise somebody as male or female writer?” she asks, while complaining that the hindrance in the uplift of women is they themselves. “We don’t take ourselves seriously. Don’t let anybody tell you what to do in your life. You are the architect of your destiny,” she says, quoting from ‘Mistress.’