10 Indian Actors Who Became Authors

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Amritesh Mukherjee curates a list of Indian actors who became authors for your TBR.

You often see artists switching mediums, an actor becoming a producer, a cinematographer trying their hand at being a director, the instances are many. But it’s not all too often when actors enter the world of literature, and that too beyond the scope of a tell-all memoir.

A memoir or an autobiography is an easy and common way to leave behind your legacy (the way you want it), your memories, and your journey behind: written, solid. But, in today’s piece, we aren’t talking about them, we’re talking about Indian actors who’ve tried something different, written a cooking manual like Shilpa Shetty, or written poetic classics like Deepti Naval.

As is the case with most lists, there’s always more scope and a possibility of more comprehensiveness. Please comment below and let us know if you think we missed any of your favourite Indian actors turned authors. All that being said, let’s begin!

List of Indian Actors Who Became Authors

1. Twinkle Khanna

Indian Actors

The first name on our list of Indian actors turned authors is Twinkle Khanna. She dons many roles: writer, columnist, interior designer, film producer, and former actress. Her books have been bestsellers from the very beginning, making their mark among readers for their quirkiness and sharp writing.

Khanna’s first step into an author’s life was through the non-fictional “Mrs Funnybones,” an immediate bestseller. She entered the fiction world with her short story collection “The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad” later adapted into the acclaimed movie, “Pad Man,” which pushed against societal myths and stigmas on periods and menstruation.

Her third book, “Pyjamas Are Forgiving,” made her the bestselling Indian female author in 2018. Her latest book is a collection of short stories, Welcome to Paradise, which again shows her wide range of storytelling.

2. Manav Kaul

Indian Actors

The second name on our list of Indian actors turned authors is Manav Kaul.

A theatre director, playwright, author, actor, and filmmaker: Manav Kaul is many things, sometimes all at once. His novels explore the struggles and joys of artistry while encouraging you to accept our inherent differences and find the beauty in the ordinary.

His writings often blur the lines between prose and poetry, between fiction and reality. His literary journey is eclectic, from novels to short stories to travelogues and reflections, and it’s his keenness to capture the everyday emotions that makes him so relevant and cherished. His book “A Bird On My Windowsill,” translated by Nandini Kumar Nickerson into English, shows his creative processes and imaginative impulses. His latest release, “Under the Night Jasmine”, is a translation by Vaibhav Sharma, of his first book, Antima, a delicate coming-of-age novel.

3. Shilpa Shetty

Indian Actors

The third name on our list of Indian actors turned authors is Shilpa Shetty Kundra.

Shilpa Shetty Kundra has shared her expertise in health and fitness through two books, “The Great Indian Diet” and “The Diary of a Domestic Diva.” The first (co-written with Luke Coutinho) looks at the benefits of Indian cuisine, showing its health aspects, and providing the perfect Indian cuisine diet.

Her second is a book of hassle-free recipes to make your everyday life simpler. Her writings well-compliment her image as a fitness enthusiast and wellness champion.

4. Kalki Koechlin

Indian Actors

The fourth name on our list of Indian actors turned authors is Kalki Koechlin.

Kalki Koechlin is known for her versatile acting career along with her work in production and activism. But not many know of her writing talents.

She’s written an award-winning play titled “Skeleton Woman”, an essay with Virginia Crompton titled “A Document in Madness”, and a memoir. “The Elephant in the Womb“, a graphic memoir, looks at the challenges of the different stages of motherhood.

It’s a deeply personal account that shows the not-so-glamorous aspects of this life-altering phase. Her writings often bring out the unspoken realities of life, observing them with a sharp eye for detail and precision.

5. Bhisham Sahni

Indian Actors

His literary career needs no introduction! A prominent playwright, professor, essayist, actor, dramatist, editor, theatre director, and political activist, Sahni made many contributions to Hindi literature throughout his life.

Sahni’s fiction works include more than a hundred short stories, seven novels, and six plays, leaving a lasting impact on Hindi literature. His most famous book and TV screenplay, Tamas, shows the Indian partition with all its tragedy and cruelty. He was also involved with several cultural and literary organisations like the All India Progressive Writers Association and the Indian People’s Theatre Association.

6. Jayaram Jayalalithaa

Indian Actors

While everyone knows about her political career, few know about her love of reading, and even fewer about her writing life. She wrote 4 novels, several columns, and short stories for reputed magazines. She had a strong wish to write an autobiography, but it remained unfulfilled. Her novel, Nenjile Oru Kanal, however, is partly autobiographical. One of her most acclaimed works is Uravin Kaidigal, a Tamil version of an English novel she wrote for Eve’s Weekly magazine. Her writings were delightfully eclectic, from social and literary commentaries to beauty tips.

7. Lena

Indian Actors

An actress, author, and scriptwriter, Lena is a prominent figure in Malayalam cinema, with over 175 films across 5 languages in 25 years. She published her debut work in 2023, The Autobiography of God, which contains the themes of self-discovery and spiritual enlightenment.

The deeply personal book charts her life journey and her search for answers to some fundamental questions we ask ourselves. She looks at the “how” and “what” behind her journey to discover the answers to these questions, emphasising mental health and self-awareness for everyone.

8. Deepti Naval

Indian Actors

Deepti Naval has left a significant impact on Indian cinema and literature, particularly Indian art cinema. Her most popular book, A Country Called Childhood, is a memoir that recounts her years through the 1950s and 60s. It captures her life while also commenting on the times themselves, a beautiful blend of personal with the universal.

Her other works include “Lamha Lamha” (written in Hindi, with Punjabi sprinkled throughout) and “The Mad Tibetan: Stories from Then and Now”, a poetry and short story collection, respectively. Her writing captures the societal nuances and often tries to bridge the past and the present.

9. Soumitra Chatterjee

Indian Actors

An acclaimed name in Bangla cinema, Soumitra Chatterjee has penned many books through the years. From books to poetry collections to dramas, he has an extensive catalogue of published works. His “Charitrer Sandhane” is a search for character, while “Pratidin Taba Gatha” reflects on his life and relationships.

Several of his works show his personal experiences and life in storytelling and the arts. They highlight the cinematic world along with an artist’s view of the society around him. He’s also written many poetry and drama collections like “Madhyarater Sangket” and “Natak Samagra”.

10. Pankaj Kapur

Indian Actors

A renowned name in Indian cinema and theatre, Pankaj Kapur entered the literary world with his debut novella, Dopehri. The book, which he wrote way back in 1992 and published 27 years later, contains themes of loneliness, solitude, and self-worth through the character of a 65-year-old widow, Amma Bi. While the book is simplistic in prose, it intricately presents human emotions and relationships.

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Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh Mukherjee

Amritesh doesn't know what to do with his life, so he writes. He also doesn't know what to write, so he reads. Gift him a book if you chance upon him and he'll love you forever.

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