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Interview with the author Farahad Zama

Farahad’s latest book ‘Mrs Ali’s Road to Happiness’ is a light-hearted book with romance, comedy and a happy ending but at its core, it has a serious topic. A Muslim widow adopts a Hindu orphan and the local mosques want her to raise the boy as a Muslim. The local temple gets wind of it and the priest there wants the boy to be taken away from her even if it means sending the boy off to an orphanage.

He has earlier authored three books – The Marriage Bureau for Rich People, The Many Conditions of Love & The Wedding Wallah. All his books are set in Vizag and follow the same characters but they are all independent books and can be read by themselves.

In each of his books, he has discussed a different social issue. Earlier books discussed land acquisition by industrial houses and the naxalite movement. In the latest one, he talks about the growing intolerance in Indian society. These serious issues are wrapped up in a good story with sympathetic characters.

He says that he is immensely influenced by author RK Narayan.

Though he is positive about the boom in cheap, low-cost paperbacks; he feels that they are not well edited. “From an affordability point of view, English fiction has always been very expensive for the average reader and the state of libraries is horrible, so cheap, low-cost paperbacks are good. But many of them I find are poorly edited and presented and that’s the bad part of it,” says he.

According to him too many books are published and each one is not publicised enough, but that’s a better problem to have than the opposite.

He thinks in ten years we will look at a very different scenario in which e-books will be king and paperbacks will be treated like hardbacks today.

He is very optimistic about adapting books of Indian authors into films. He asserts, “This is a trend to be encouraged. If my own books were to be made into movies, Naseeruddin Shah would be the perfect Mr Ali.

– Babita Balan

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