Khalid Mohamed’s debut novel ‘The Aladia Sisters’ launched by Sonam K Ahuja in Delhi

Om Books International, in collaboration with Toy Room Club, Delhi, recently organised the launch of noted film critic, screenwriter and film director Khalid Mohamed’s debut novel ‘The Aladia Sisters’

Khalid Mohamed’s debut novel ‘The Aladia Sisters’ launched by Sonam K Ahuja in Delhi
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Murtaza Ali Khan

Om Books International, in collaboration with Toy Room Club, New Delhi, recently organised the launch of noted film critic, screenwriter and film director Khalid Mohamed's debut novel ‘The Aladia Sisters’. The novel was launched by Bollywood actor Sonam K Ahuja. It spans three generations and tells the story of six sisters caught at the crossroad of the nation’s as well as their own personal histories. During a conversation, moderated by television journalist Pooja Talwar, the Neerja actor praised Mohamed's inimitable writing style. “I think there is a romance to the way he writes. It’s true of something as simple as a review or an article of a dearly departed from the film industry by Khalid Uncle. There is romance, charm and humour in everything that he writes and there is a lot of drama. I think there is a way of looking at things which isn’t personal. I feel a lot of the reviewers can get personal sometimes but he doesn’t. He looks at things from an objective point of view and yet there is an underlying emotion in it which makes it very intense. I think it’s something very rare to possess. It’s magical. That’s why his films and his work at large have been recognized,” opined Sonam.

Shyam Benegal’s 2001 film Zubeidaa whose screenplay Mohamed wrote largely presents an autobiographical account of the latter’s life. “I was brought up in a matriarchal system largely. My grandmother was very unhappy when I was born because most of the males in the family were parasites of sorts, feeding off the women. My father left for Pakistan after I was born and my upbringing was left to my grandmother. That’s why I salute women all the time,” averred Mohamed who once again has chosen to tell a story that primarily focuses around women in his debut novel.

Sonam, who has a carved a niche for herself playing strong and independent female characters, talked about the need to balance the side effects of patriarchy. “My husband said something really wise. He told me that when things have been so out of balance for so many years you have to go the absolute another way for it to tip back in balance. Unfortunately, in our film industry and in India it’s been largely patriarchal. So I guess I am trying to go the other way. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It worked really beautifully with Neerja and Khoobsurat but didn’t work so well with Zoya Factor. So, it is a work in progress, trying to make the scale balance out some way or the other,” explained Sonam while acknowledging Mohamed’s visionary ability to portray women who have been way ahead of their time as evident in films like Fiza, Sardari Begum, Mammo, and Zubeidaa, among others.

Khalid Mohamed’s debut novel ‘The Aladia Sisters’ launched by Sonam K Ahuja in Delhi

Sonam has had a reputation of speaking her heart out in the public and it often landed her in controversies. But, in the recent times, she seems to have distanced herself from all that. “Over the last one year I have decided that I need to work on figuring out what I need to say through my work. I had the privilege of sitting next to this very fine actor named Adil Hussain. He is really an incredible actor and I was completely star struck sitting next to him. He told me that he loved the way I have an opinion. He then added that tweeting and putting it on the social media is today’s news and tomorrow’s trash. He further suggested that if I said what I wanted to say through my work then it will go down in posterity. I became an even bigger fan of his after that as I realized what he said was absolutely true,” revealed Sonam.

Khalid Mohamed, in spite of his insatiable love for cinema, has developed a fondness for OTT platforms in the recent years. “I am addicted. Every day from 7-10 PM, I am either on Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar, or ZEE5. It has reduced my cinema going because I can watch it in my house as per my convenience. Also since I don’t have to write instant reviews these days I can wait before I watch a new film. However, the big screen experience is something else but the way films are being shot it doesn’t make much of a difference unless it’s an epic or something very stylish. I think for most things these days a big TV set suffices,” opined Mohamed.

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