Girish Joshi

Abhinetri ki Aatmakatha (अभिनेत्री की आत्मकथा)

5 min read

I spent the first twenty-four years of my life not knowing that one of my great grandfathers was part of the film production business, moreover, he published a novel. HE PUBLISHED A NOVEL. For someone who wants to write his own novel, this was a fascinating discovery. The day my uncle told me about it and showed me the tattered copy of this book, I knew I have to read it, but there was just one problem: the book was written in Hindi. It’s not that I cannot read Hindi. I’ve studied this language for eight years, and I’ve spent all my life conversing in this language. It’s just that I’m an extremely slow reader of Hindi books, which is evident from the fact that I’ve never finished a Hindi book in my life. So when I started reading this book I was doubtful whether I’ll be able to know what happens in the end to Prathibha? Wait, you must be wondering who is Prathibha? But before I tell you that, I want you to know that I did finish this book, yes, it took me close to six months, but I made my great grandfather proud. That’s what I love about books you see, I never met that man. For the first twenty-four years, both of us were unaware of each other’s existence, he’s still unaware of my existence wherever he is, and while he was writing this book he would have never thought that someone from his family tree one day would be reading his work and writing a review on it on an online platform like GoodReads. I know, I know, this is not exciting you the way it is exciting me, but that’s okay, not all things are meant to excite us on a similar frequency. And that’s just science.

Spoiler Alert Begins.

अभिनेत्री की आत्मकथा translates to Autobiography of Actress. This is the story of Prathibha who writes the memoir of her days in the film industry. She was married to Ajay and living in Mumbai when Samaresh discovered Prathibha and cast her into his upcoming film. Although the marriage wasn’t passionate, it was peaceful. But the winds began to blow over her marriage as she grew as an actress and as she grew closer to the lead actor of her film, Amar. By the time the film production came to an end, her marriage with Ajay has ended as well. Amar grew over Prathibha, in all sense, she had given her entire self to Amar. Thanks to Amar, Prathibha had now got herself distanced from Samresh over the issue of signing his next film. Amar kept growing in riches and fame with the help of Prathibha, if Prathibha was a ladder, then Amar was climbing it well. One day Prathibha introduced her niece Neeta to Amar. Neeta wanted to make a name in the film industry, and so Prathibha and Amar gave her the role of actress’s sister in their next film. Neeta was beautiful and the daughter of a rich man. Amar was growing close to Neeta like he once had grown close to Prathibha. And eventually, he left Prathibha to marry Neeta. This was a big blow to Prathibha. She felt cheated and used and devasted. It was her servant Krishna, who held her and provided her with the solace and alcohol, for which she had no one else to turn to.

Prathibha’s memoir ends here abruptly. Ajay gets a mail that Prathibha is in the hospital and she’s probably taking her last breaths. Years have passed since they both have seen each other. Ajay is ashamed as he had eloped with Bella on seeing Prathibha getting closer to Ajay. Prathibha is feeling ashamed as she couldn’t be an ideal wife to Ajay. Samaresh is at the hospital. The doctor says that Prathibha has lost a lot of blood. Samaresh tells Ajay that Prathibha was stabbed by Krishna when his insecurities and jealousy overpowered him on seeing Prathibha with another man, the financer of her new projects. After being left behind by Amar, Prathibha had grown close to Krishna, and Krishna had started to assert his control over her. Something like this was inevitable. When Ajay finally sees Prathibha, she’s pale and lifeless on the hospital bed. She gathers all that is left inside her to tell Ajay that she’s terribly sorry for whatever she did to him. All her life she had felt ashamed to apologize, but now on the face of death, the idea of apologizing to Ajay seems less terrifying. She gives Ajay the key to her locker and dies in front of his eyes.

Ajay finds out that Prathibha’s locker has her will and a manuscript of her unfinished autobiography. She has left two bungalows for Ajay which Ajay decides to sell and use that money to start a school in the memory of Prathibha. And Ajay decides to publish this unfinished autobiography of the actress.

Spoiler Alert Ends.

I’ll be honest, even before I had started reading this book I knew that I’ll be rating this book with a 5 star, because of NEPOTISM. Because I’m carrying some of the genes of the person who wrote this book. But once I did finish reading this book, I knew that this book was a 5 star for what it was. This book touched me more than I was prepared for, and ever since morning I have been thinking about Prathibha, and Ajay, and Amar, and my great grandfather. Did he really know people like that? Or was it all a figment of his imagination? I’ve written creative stuff, and I know that usually, the inspirations for the inner world come from the outer world. The thing is that I’ll never be able to know if my great grandfather knew someone like Prathibha. Sigh.

This book is not available in the market. There is one copy of this book in my uncle’s library. But it’s a little scary to read old torn books, they are delicate beings, you don’t want to be a book-killer. Also, my uncle’s library is of no use to you. So, in case you do want to read this book, which I highly recommend that you do, you can use this link to download the e-copy.

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