Leela  -  A Patchwark Life

Leela - A Patchwark Life

Product ID: 28657

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Author: Leela Naidu
Jerry Pinto/
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 180
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780670999118


Leela Naidu was listed as one of the five most beautiful women in the world by Vogue magazine. But she was much more than that. She was the fine-boned, haunting face in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anuradha, in Merchant-Ivory’s The Householder and in Shyam Benegal’s Trikaal.

She was the woman who refused to sign Raj Kapoor’s films four times, and the actor who asked for a script long before the phrase ‘bound script’ became Bollywood cliché. Jean Renoir taught her acting and Salvador Dali used her as a model for a Madonna.

Leela was married, the mother of twins and divorced before she was twenty. Later, she was Dom Moraes’s muse, his unpaid secretary, his best friend and, when he was interviewing Indira Gandhi, his translator (interpreting ‘his mumbling questions’).

Through this time she also edited magazines and dubbed Hong Kong action movies, was Kumar Shahani’s first producer, and when JRD Tata wanted a film on how to use the washroom on a plane, she made it for him.

Leela A Patchwork Life is a memoir that is charming, idiosyncratic and a window to a world of Chopin, red elephants, lampshades made of human skin, moss gardens and much more: a world where a naked Russian count turns up in a French garden, plush hotels offer porcupine quills as toothpicks and an assistant director sends his female lead an inflatable rubber bra.

Leela’s life was about ‘staying in the moment’. Everyone who met her has a Leela Naidu story. This is her version.


‘Naidu was one of group of beautiful women who, from the Forties to the early Sixties, helped create an idea of a beautiful, elegant and accomplished new nation…’
--- Vikram Doctor, Economic Times




One – The Named Count on the Lawn

Two – From Five Gardens to Paris

Three – Of Racists and Other Animals

Four – Another Home Five – Paris by Renoir

Six – Three Rubber Bras and A Yellow Nose

Seven – ‘Who Am I Playing, Leela?’

Eight – A Main Prossessed

Nine – ‘She has no bad Angles’

Ten – Leela Naidu, Producer

Eleven – Among the Naxalites

Twelve – Caution-Leila Khaled is Coming

Thirteen – Breathless Victory

Fourteen – Travelling with Dom Moraes

Fifteen – Translating Ionesco

Sixteen – Leela Naidu, Editor

Seventeen – ‘Have you Stopped Acting?’

Eighteen – The British on A Hunger Strike in the Land of the Mahatma

Nineteen – Season of Mists and Mellow

Leela’s Epilogue