Pankaj Kapur turns author with debut novel Dopehri

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Pankaj Kapur’s Dopehri is set in the streets of Lucknow.

Thespian Pankaj Kapur takes on a new role of an author with his first novel Dopehri, which he has performed on stage many times, coming out next month.

The book, set in Lucknow and originally written in Hindustani, will be published by HarperCollins India and release simultaneously in Hindi and in English.

Amma Bi is an elderly widow who lives alone in her deserted Lucknow haveli. Every afternoon, at precisely 3 o’clock, she hears the sound of unknown footsteps. Every afternoon, she peeks out … but no one is there.

In a state of growing panic, Amma Bi considers moving to an old-age home, before finally taking in a lodger – a winsome young woman named Sabiha. Her arrival fills Amma Bi’s lonely world with love and laughter, and Jumman, the household help, is transformed as well.

And when Sabiha finds herself in trouble, Amma Bi must draw on hidden reserves of skill and empathy in order to resolve the situation.

Dopehri is a wonderfully evocative work of great charm, wry humour and quiet power, a story that readers will fall in love with, the publishers said.

Kapur, said Dopehri is set in the streets of Lucknow and “takes us through the journey of Amma Bi’s loneliness to self-discovery. I have performed it previously on stage. I hope people enjoy reading it as much as they have enjoyed watching it on stage”.

According to Udayan Mitra, publisher (literary) at HarperCollins India, “For many years we have admired Pankaj Kapur as one of the most accomplished actors we have. With Dopehri’, readers will discover a new side to Pankaj ji’s extraordinary talent: that of a truly exceptional writer. Dopehri’ is an absolute delight to read.”

Senior Commissioning Editor (literary) at HarperCollins India, Rahul Soni said Pankaj Kapur is a born storyteller and he brings a “raconteur’s flair to the telling of this heart-warming, life-affirming tale of finding companionship and purpose in the unlikeliest of places”.

“Dopehri reveals a compelling new side to the legendary actor,” he added.


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