“Don’s Wife”, director Vinod Pande’s first novel, is all about human relationships

Vinod Pande, the award winning director, who has made several films like Ek Baar Phir, Yeh Nazdikeeyan and Sins among others, has written his first novel “Don’s Wife” (Mahaveer Publishers). Well first for all intents and purposes since he has no idea about what happened to his first short novel “Ek Baar Phir” — brought out in the market after the release of the film.

The novel is the saga of revenge, hope, aspirations, betrayals, tragedies, triumphs and is the story of tall men and even taller women. Pande, a self-confessed closet writer was never published. “The definite ambition to write took shape when I was designing a serial – ‘Beyond Frontiers’ for Doordarshan – about the Indian diaspora. This serial unfortunately did not materialise. I had already written synopsis of more 60 episodes and had decide to convert it into a book for which I wrote more than 100 pages.” A well-wisher advised him instead to make a debut in the writing with a “popular and contemporary work which could be written easily”.

The director zeroed on the story written by him for a film, named “Don, Biwi aur Bodyguard” – which incidentally appeared as an episode of his serial Reporter. “Based on a real life incident, I intended to make a movie and had already written the story which on the advice of my friend I converted into a novel and named ‘Don's Wife’,” said Pande. “I will write three to four more works of fiction and will definitely bring out the prose version of ‘Beyond Frontiers’ – a project very close and dear to my heart. It was inspired by Inseparable Humanity, an anthology of reflections by Sunny Ramphal, the former Secretary General of Commonwealth which I followed up with extensive research on the subject,” he said, adding “interestingly I became aware of this book after reading a review in The Hindu.”

“Don’s Wife” which started in 2010 finished a year later. It was “enormously influenced by my experience in filmmaking” according to Pande. He said: “The work is very much cinematic because that is where I hail from – writing and directing films.” Pointing out the difference between the two crafts he emphasised “while writing you are not encumbered by space, story-telling leads to reflecting about self and the world and enables you to traverse various layers and levels.”

The narrative brings to fore many aspects about human relationships. Through the character of Raja Dhansukh Jadhav, an underworld don, the mix of good and evil in mankind is brought out. “We are both devil and angel and many times our actions in the materialistic and physical world are due to circumstances,” said Pande. Highlighting the value of friendship through two personalities in the book, the author says, “the true meaning of friendship is bonding and that is what the two personas exhibit.”

The role of destiny is underlined in the entire story. When asked why, the writer said: “We humans have a tendency to paint ourselves as all powerful but this is not true – man proposes and God disposes.” Making a point, he added that “every morning I pray to the Almighty to grant me subudhi (wisdom) to act right and avoid ego.”

Through many situations and events the difference between the educated and the uneducated is indicated in the story. Agreeing, commented Pande, “It is not necessary that if you are educated you will be sensitive. On contrary the so-called culture, sophistication is the breeding ground for conceit and it compromises humanism. The coarser elements in the book are purer and it is a comment on the elitist strata of the society, we live in.” The author says education does not guarantee a fine human being and at times it makes us “calculative, cunning and adept in creating a fine art of compromise.”

Pande has not forsaken his first love “films and serials”. He is working on a feature film with the subject for the second one too ready. “I am very keen to make the serial ‘Beyond Frontiers’.” he said while emphatically stating, “I will continue to write fiction and will not give up this excellent creative space.” He is writing Saanvri: Story of a Concubine, again the conversion of his film script into a novel.Destiny