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Farrukh Dhondy has done it all. No, really. Rallying for the rights of Indian workers in England; joining the British Black Panther Movement; participating in anti–Iraq War protests; meeting the Beatles, Oprah Winfrey, Allen Ginsberg and John Berger; reporting on Pink Floyd before they were famous. And more: an odd association with serial killer Charles Sobhraj, Bollywood lessons with Subhash Ghai, an Oscar outing with Mira Nair, a documentary shooting that put him in the midst of a gunfight in Jamaica. Then there are his friendships, most famously with the literary giants V.S. Naipaul and C.L.R. James.
Born in pre-Independence India, Dhondy’s Parsi family moved from Quetta to Pune during Partition in a train guarded by armed soldiers. While his childhood years are an intimate sketch of a small community dealing with the hopes and trials of a newly independent India, Dhondy’s youth is a portrait of a man finding his political centre, his forays into teaching and journalism, and the chance encounters that led him to becoming a pioneering Indo-Anglian writer as well as producing breakaway content as Channel 4’s commissioning editor.
This spirit of adventure and the zeitgeist of an ambitious generation which Dhondy embodies makes his life read like a movie script—with impossible twists and turns, an eccentric cast of characters, witty as hell and wearing its erudition lightly, as the man himself has always done.
Farrukh Dhondy is a British Indian writer of fiction, non-fiction, drama TV and films. He was born in Pune in 1944 and went to school and college there before being awarded a scholarship to Cambridge, England. He was a commissioning editor for Channel 4 television network, England, between 1984 and 1997 and now works as a consultant to the Indian web platform MX Player. His latest publication is a new translation of selected verses from Rumi.