The Bollywood’s Mrs Funnybones, Twinkle Khanna, launched her third book, a novel called Pyjamas are Forgiving on 7th September in a starry event held in Mumbai and hosted by Karan Johar. Her hubby Akshay Kumar, Mother Twinkle Kapadia, Ranveer Singh, Sonam Kapoor and Bobby Deol were among the several other celebrities who cheered Twinkle as she unveiled her book in this event. Pyjamas Are Forgiving follows the female protagonist after she discovers that her ex-husband and his young wife are staying at the same Kerala sanctuary as she is.
Twinkle has previously written two books, Mrs Funnybones, a book based on her life, and The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, a collection of four short stories on feminism. She is also a weekly columnist for The Times of India. She is famously known for her signature narrative style—tacit social commentary layered with whimsy and plenty of humour and this makes her our prime persona of the week.
Karan, who was in conversation with Twinkle at the launch of her book, called the actor-turned-author a ‘rockstar’ and ‘someone who breaks the stereotypes. He regarded her as the ‘icon of feminism’ to which she replied, ‘I am definitely a feminist, but I find the word icon itself slightly troublesome. Anyone who is put on a pedestal is in a dangerous position because these are very narrow elevated spaces. One little dance, one drink and off you fall. So I am not any kind of an icon. I just do my work, and walk ahead quietly.’
Mrs Kumar was actively part of the Me Too movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. The #MeToo movement spread virally as a hashtag used on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. She says, ‘Everything that happens in the world, kind of impacts in my writing. The #MeToo movement has impacted all of us. It is not just women, but men too as it has made us examine our ingrained behaviour. And it has found its way in my book as well. I do address the fine line between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ as there is a lot of ambiguity about consensual sex.’
The former actress had a short career span in the film industry and can’t be more thankful for that very fact because she is not proud of her work as an actor. She quoted, ‘I have not given any hit film. Whatever films I have done should be banned and (no one should watch) it. Most of the time, I pretend I have Alzheimer’s and I don’t remember my film career and it makes me happy that ways.’ Her movies include Barsaat and Mela.
Although she has not parted away from the film world, she is now a film producer and has given many award-winning and hit films like Padman, Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty, most of which has Akshay Kumar in the lead. The two got married in 2001 and Akshay has always been vocal about the immense amount of love he has for Twinkle. He was once quoted as saying, ‘Twinkle has not only added to my wardrobe but also to my bank balance. I was a scattered person; she is the one who has put me together. After marriage, she has kind of raised me (Laughs). On a serious note, whenever I’ve broken down she’s given me emotional support.’ In another interview, he told us why men need to be envious of him by saying, ‘Tina (Twinkle) is my best friend. My wife is the best person any man could wish to wake up next to. She holds me up when I’m falling, and puts me down when I’m flying. She makes me laugh when I’m sad and moans when I am sitting idle. Tina is everything to me. She is my reality check’.
Twinkle is known for standing up for feminism on many occasions and for many reasons, she is ideally associated with feminism in the country. Speaking at the launch of her second book The Legend of Laksmi Prasad, Twinkle had said, ‘I want to say something. Many journalists, who have read the book, came and asked me hesitantly ‘Are you a feminist?’ They were behaving as if the question was ‘Are you a Justin Bieber fan?’ Feminism means wanting equal opportunities and those who say they are not and they don’t believe in feminism, are idiots… Women are trying very hard to find a place in the world which should be theirs anyway but the man had locked them in a cage and they are now trying to get out.’
She further added, ‘We grow up and we need to conform to the society, to fit in. And my granny would always be moaning about the fact that I never brushed my hair and my mom would always try to put me on a diet and I would tell her I wouldn’t fit in… I would ask her why do I need to fit in a size for a dress? And for all the oddballs and misfits out there, if you follow your path you will reach somewhere where no one has reached because you are meant to uniquely do some things which only you can do.’
Breaking the rules and misconceptions around feminism, an excellent family-maker, supportive wife, driven writer, zealous producer and career oriented woman- more power to Twinkle Khanna and her encouraging words.