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Author: Leela Naidu
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780670999118
Leela Naidu was listed as one of the five most beautiful women in the world by Vogue magazine. But she was much more than that. She was the fine-boned, haunting face in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anuradha, in Merchant-Ivory’s The Householder and in Shyam Benegal’s Trikaal.
She was the woman who refused to sign Raj Kapoor’s films four times, and the actor who asked for a script long before the phrase ‘bound script’ became Bollywood cliché. Jean Renoir taught her acting and Salvador Dali used her as a model for a Madonna.
Leela was married, the mother of twins and divorced before she was twenty. Later, she was Dom Moraes’s muse, his unpaid secretary, his best friend and, when he was interviewing Indira Gandhi, his translator (interpreting ‘his mumbling questions’).
Through this time she also edited magazines and dubbed Hong Kong action movies, was Kumar Shahani’s first producer, and when JRD Tata wanted a film on how to use the washroom on a plane, she made it for him.
Leela A Patchwork Life is a memoir that is charming, idiosyncratic and a window to a world of Chopin, red elephants, lampshades made of human skin, moss gardens and much more: a world where a naked Russian count turns up in a French garden, plush hotels offer porcupine quills as toothpicks and an assistant director sends his female lead an inflatable rubber bra.
Leela’s life was about ‘staying in the moment’. Everyone who met her has a Leela Naidu story. This is her version.
‘Naidu was one of group of beautiful women who, from the Forties to the early Sixties, helped create an idea of a beautiful, elegant and accomplished new nation…’
--- Vikram Doctor, Economic Times
One – The Named Count on the Lawn
Two – From Five Gardens to Paris
Three – Of Racists and Other Animals
Four – Another HomeFive – Paris by Renoir
Six – Three Rubber Bras and A Yellow Nose
Seven – ‘Who Am I Playing, Leela?’
Eight – A Main Prossessed
Nine – ‘She has no bad Angles’
Ten – Leela Naidu, Producer
Eleven – Among the Naxalites
Twelve – Caution-Leila Khaled is Coming
Thirteen – Breathless Victory
Fourteen – Travelling with Dom Moraes
Fifteen – Translating Ionesco
Sixteen – Leela Naidu, Editor
Seventeen – ‘Have you Stopped Acting?’
Eighteen – The British on A Hunger Strike in the Land of the Mahatma
Nineteen – Season of Mists and Mellow