Writing is my New Focus-Nandana Sen
By Bengali Tollywood News Network, 15/01/2016

 Series of interviews have been lined up. Nandana Sen, the busybee, still looks beyond. Her mother's birthday party has to be organized and she has to give in to her niece's demands. She mixes work and fun, like she has done with her latest offering — a children's book. What comes out is a peek into a mind that speaks its own. Excerpts:

Today is the birthday of your mother — author Nabaneeta Dev Sen. Heard there's a party at home?
Yes, I came to Kolkata last night, and we rang in her birthday with a small celebration amidst some close family members. As soon as I wrap up my work today, we are going to have another party. My six-year-old niece, Hiya, is with me. She loves crackers and chocolates, so we bought a lot of that to celebrate mom's birthday. Today, we also went for a family lunch. As a birthday present, I did a translation of a book of my mother's poems from Bengali to English, and she was very excited to receive it.

A doting daughter, your mother's health must be of great concern to you...
I come down whenever I can. She has been quiet unwell lately, but she is extremely resilient and her indomitable spirit keeps her going. She would never stop writing or doing other work even if she's unwell. Do you get to spend time with your father, Amartya Sen, given his busy schedule? Yeah, I see a lot of him. Like every year, we celebrated the New Year together in Kolkata. Ringing in the New Year amidst the immediate family has been a tradition now.

Coming from a family of such great writers, do you have any particular inspiration for writing?
Since my childhood I've always been into a lot of writing. I've grown up in a house of books. My grandparents and mother were into a lot of children's books too. I started writing my first novel when I was barely 10, though I didn't finish that. A few years later, my writings were selected by Satyajit Ray and published in Sandesh magazine.

Coming to your latest book, Mambi and the Forest Fire, you were heard saying, Mambi came into your life in Kolkata, when you spent a day in a shelter for children rescued from trafficking. Can you tell us more about it?


This book is inspired by my nieces and nephews. I dedicate it to them. In general, I've been associated with child rights and protection for many years now. That experience inspires most of my writing. The story, in fact, was born on a certain day that I spent in a children's shelter here. I found out that these kids, who were rescued after being victims of child trafficking, were incredibly creative and talented. But, given the trauma they've been through, most were very shy. So, I invented Mambi on the spot. Mambi is a shy monkey, who wants to be like others, but emerges heroic compared to all the other animals. The book is in the form of prose and I'm very excited about it.



Going back a little, your mother raised your sister, Antara, and you in a very independent way, but in the present times when there is so much of hue and cry over intolerance and gender inequality, have you planned how to raise your own children?


I think my sister and I were encouraged to think independently, as we grew up amidst a lot of care and attention. We were also taught to express ourselves without fear. I think my latest book also deals with matters like learning to embrace your identity, find your voice and expression and, at the same time, respecting diversity. These are issues which are important in the country now and it's a necessity to expose children to issues of urgency such as gender equality and freedom of thought and expression. Mambi's story doesn't give out a message overtly, but deals with these issues of global relevance. I think kids shouldn't be sheltered too much as they need to connect with the larger reality they live in. So I would definitely raise my children to think independently and deeply rooted to the world around them.

Are you planning to go the family way? 

Yes, may be in the near future.


Why do we see you less in films these days?


Well, when I was in Mumbai, I was dividing my work between movies, child rights and writing. But at that time, acting took up most of my time. Now that I have moved away from the country, my world is still divided into these three areas, but I am focusing more on writing now. I did finish writing a screenplay not very long ago, which is in its pre-production stage and it revolves around the inter-dependency between the world of cinema, politics and journalism.

source: TOI

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