Smriti Irani at launch of her novel: ‘I stepped out to live my life and then history happened’

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani Saturday formally launched her debut novel, Lal Salaam, a crime thriller published by Westland, at the India International Centre in New Delhi.

At the event hosted by the Jaipur Literature Festival, after opening notes by Karthika VK, Westland publisher, and S Prasannarajan, editor, Open magazine, Irani was in a freewheeling conversation with journalist Vir Sanghvi.

Talking about her long career from television to politics, Irani spoke of living life on her own terms. “I wanted to explore life because I recognised that the only thing that I wanted to do was live without preconditions. I recognised very early in life that there are consequences for any decision I take. But when I left home, I told my parents I would rather bear the consequences of my own actions than yours,” Irani said, on her decision to join the television industry.

Irani was the face of Balaji Telefilms’ Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (2000-2008), and acted in many other TV serials before she joined politics. In 2019, Irani, at 43, was the youngest minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet. “I stepped out to live my life and then history happened,” the minister said.

The book, which came out on November 29, revolves around superintendent of police Vikram Singh, who is posted in Chhattisgarh’s Ambuja village and is in pursuit of justice for the murder of his friend and fellow police officer Darshan. For the book, Irani drew inspiration from the April 2010 Maoist ambush of CRPF personnel near Chintalnar village in Chhatisgarh’s Dantewada district, which resulted in the death of 76 CRPF personnel.

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