Twinkle Khanna, or as she is best known and loved, Mrs Funnybones is back in the bookshops with her second book The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad. The columnist, author and 2015's highest selling female writer spoke exclusively to NDTV.
NDTV: Why fiction, short stories, this time around?
Twinkle Khanna: A monkey has to leap to another branch! Doing Mrs Funny Bones 2 would be the most logical, commercial, viable step but this is what obsessed me this is what gripped me. So I wrote this. I planned to write a novel, I wrote ten chapters down then switched to writing this.
NDTV: You wrote ten chapters of a novel?
Twinkle Khanna: Yeah.
NDTV: Has anyone told you are a ridiculous overachiever?
Twinkle Khanna: Yeah, in that way I am a little bit like my husband. Our passion is our work, and what is nice is that we bring that home and we both talk about work to each other. So it's not that if we are working we are isolating our family life, it becomes a part of it.
NDTV: Do you ever get writer's block? And does wine help?
Twinkle Khanna: No, but having a deadline is the greatest wrecking ball to a writer's block. That pressure, just kind of builds up and then you know, it breaks through a space in your brain and you don't have a block anymore. I really work well on deadlines. I love deadlines. I am one of those people. Give me a deadline and I am thrilled
NDTV: There is a precision to your humor, how have you worked on honing it?
Twinkle Khanna: I have always been the one person standing there, making jokes and cracking up. Whether other people cracked up around me or not was irrelevant. But, I would also end up offending a lot of people because I had not honed that completely and I did not know how to exactly, precisely direct it. With writing, you know, you rewrite. You make sure that you are getting what you have to say across without really offending people - because that's not the point.
NDTV: Do you wait for feedback on Twitter? Do people's comments provide food for thought?
Twinkle Khanna: Yeah, they definitely do. So, I love Twitter. I love Twitter for two reasons. One is because I need to know what's happening in the world really quickly and Twitter gives you that. Secondly, it gives you myriad perspectives.So, you're not biased or you're not following one newspaper's account of what's happening. The second thing is, if I get criticism on Twitter, I look at it in a way, and I examine it very carefully, and if there is something to be gained, I would definitely incorporate it. And then of course, it gives me a chance to make multiple jokes, so I like it.
NDTV: I was going to say you're one of those rare people who manages to troll the trolls without trolling...
Twinkle Khanna: I troll them politely, let's put it that way.
NDTV: But with surgical precision...
Twinkle Khanna: In fact, when I am trolling them, I always call them Sir. I like to do it very respectfully (laughs).
NDTV: You also take on anything: from "patriots" to Karva Chauth? Have you always felt this need to mix it up and poke fingers?
Twinkle Khanna: If you think about it, it was fifteen years ago, when I got married and I didn't change my surname. So, I have always been this person.
NDTV: Do you enjoy photoshoots? Do you have a process?
Twinkle Khanna: I hate photo-shoots. I can't stand them. And back in the day, before Photoshop existed, there were days when we'd do photoshoots we wouldn't drink water on the day of the photoshoot, because you don't want your stomach to come out. Now, I think you can drink water at least. I don't know if you can eat, but you can drink water! The other thing about it is there are tricks. Everyone has to use them. So, earlier on I would use Spanx, now I can't be bothered. I just can't, I am sorry. It's too much effort. I'd rather breathe than look thin.
NDTV: High heels or flats?
Twinkle Khanna: I have very bad feet. I have torn my ligament, my left leg forty times. People say that it's because, you know, my foot is so damaged because it's always in my mouth, but the fact is I have such bad feet that I actually wear pretty fit-flops. And I have the prettiest fit-flops in the universe.
NDTV: One of the interesting things about you, is how you walked away effortlessly from a career that millions of people dream of. Have you ever had a moment of regret or do you just look around and give thanks for it?
Twinkle Khanna: I was desperate to get out (laughs). My entire body was outside the door, you know, I was just hanging on with my toes. So finally, you know, when that last step happened, and I was out, I was happy.
NDTV: Is there a scene that you look back that makes you cringe?
Twinkle Khanna: All! I haven't seen any of my movies and now lately, my son has started doing a nasty thing, where he keeps replaying this one scene he's got on YouTube, where I'm apparently kissing some man's nipple. And he keeps showing me this again and again and he keeps making these jokes! And yeah, so, I actually think I should, I don't know, blind myself or blind him. I'm not sure which!
NDTV: My next question was going to be whether there was one you were proud of, but...
Twinkle Khanna: No. I have no acting skills! You need acting skills to act, not intelligence. They're two different skills.
NDTV: So now we have Akshay, action-man, ass-kicker. Right? Are your columns about the only thing that makes him go little shaky in the knees?
Twinkle Khanna: No, I think he is actually someone who's remarkably comfortable in his skin. He's not been one who cares what people in the industry think about him. He's never been part of any group or clan or needed to do any of those things. He is who he is and he is absolutely fine with it. And I think that's remarkably, you know, unique.
NDTV: Is there anything you'd change about him? Any one thing?
Twinkle Khanna: No, I want to be as much like him as possible. I mean, I want to have that mind, that calm, Zen-like mind, I don't have it.
NDTV: At your last book launch, you said the reason you had resisted Karan's invitations to Koffee with Karan was because Akshay was worried that the first thing you'd go on and say on the show was penis.
Twinkle Khanna: I'm not saying such words on the show...(laughs)
NDTV: But you are going on the show. In fact, I believe it's recorded.
Twinkle Khanna: Yes.
NDTV: Will you meet or exceed expectations?
Twinkle Khanna: I have no clue but I have already called him and begged him to delete three lines. So, I hope he does delete those three lines.
NDTV: If you had to come up with a tagline for the following, what would it be:
Twinkle Khanna: Sycophancy
NDTV: Leander Paes' nipples?
Twinkle Khanna: They look decent in a black t-shirt.
NDTV: Karan Johar's coffee?
Twinkle Khanna: Akshay drank a lot of it, I think, because he could not control himself when I was saying some nonsense.
NDTV: Indian politicians?
Twinkle Khanna: No, I have something horrible. I am not saying it (laughs).
Twinkle Khanna: I would say it's my book, it's something that I want people to read. People out there are reading lots of bad books, so they might as well read a good book and they might read mine, that's all.
NDTV: Why is she a legend?
Twinkle Khanna: Partially it's because of what she does, which becomes folklore through the years, and it's also mistaken as an act by the Goddess Lakshmi which is why she becomes a legend. She gets an idea which nobody has in her village for thousands of years and she implements it. She's a determined young woman, she breaks a certain barrier. It's the only village where the girl child is celebrated in that entire state. And she is the one responsible. Isn't that legendary?
NDTV: So finally two very quick questions then. These are both stolen from the famous questionnaire that James Lipton uses. Your favorite curse word.
Twinkle Khanna: I think it would be "What the Fuck".
NDTV: And finally, if you, if heaven exists..what would you like God to say to you at the at the pearly gates?
Twinkle Khanna: Well, he would like to, I'm not really sure that there would be God at the pearly gates. So I don't think there is anything like heaven but for me it would, I don't want to go to heaven. I want to be immortal, I want to replicate parts of myself and I want to live with an enhanced brain. I want to be able to teleport, by breaking down into atoms and going to another planet. So these are my dreams about the future. It's not going to heaven, no.