About Manjiri Prabhu
Manjiri's first conscious need as a person, was to write. She grew up reading Enid Blyton books and children mystery books and ever since she can remember, she wanted to be a writer. She has been writing since the age of seven.
Manjiri worked as freelance Film Critic for the newspapers THE INDIAN EXPRESS and THE TIMES OF INDIA reviewing more than a hundred English, Hindi and Marathi films.
Her first book to be published, in 1994, was titled A SYMPHONY OF HEARTS. It was a romance, along the lines of Mills & Boon, in the Rupa Romance series started by Rupa/ HarperCollins India.
Her second book, titled SILVER IN THE MIST was also a romance in the same series. The third book was a non-fiction, research-based book on the Role of women in Hindi films.
It was titled ROLES : REEL AND REAL and was published by Ajanta Books International, New Delhi. It was based on her Ph.D. in Communication Science (film).
THE COSMIC CLUES and THE ASTRAL ALIBI were published by Bantam/Dell, Random House USA. And her latest release is a romantic thriller, titled THE CAVANSITE CONSPIRACY.
One of her unpublished novels has been converted into a full-length feature film in Hindi (Cinemascope, 35mm) titled KUCHH DIL NE KAHA. The film is a mystery psychology thriller. She also wrote the Script and dialogues for the film.
By profession, Manjiri is a Children’s Television Producer and a short filmmaker for over 20 years. She has produced over 200 programmes of various kinds, ranging from Quizzes to Drama and Documentary to Animation. Many of them have been scripted and edited by her.
Manjiri’s other major concern is Animal Welfare and well-being. She strives for the care and protection of stray dogs and cats in society.
Extracts from the interview in India Abroad magazine – 2006
Q. Did you secretly want to be a writer when you were studying in college and later began to produce TV shows and children´s films?
Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a writer. My conscious memory of writing is from age seven, when I wrote adventure books for children. I would cut the sheets out in the size of a book and staple them together with a cover page. Even when I was in college and later doing Television, I was writing for various electronic media and writing books too on the sidelines. But yes, perhaps the need to do full-time writing at some point in life, has always been a strong desire.
Q. How has your association with TV and films helped you as a writer?
Basically being a media person at heart, film and television have always been an inherent part of growing up. Having been a film critic for several years, and being closely associated with film and television, I’m always analyzing content in terms of script, screenplay and shot taking, comparing techniques and the imaginative process, whether the outcome is words or visuals. And now, I’m at a point where it is difficult for me to separate the media. Because even when I write a book, I visualize and express every scene in terms of a film and not simply as a traditional book.
Q. How did the idea of an Indian female sleuth come about?
Actually the idea of this series as a whole ("The Cosmic Clues" and "The Astral Alibi") came about because of the astrology atmosphere in the house. My mother, Shobha Prabhu — a noted Astrologer—taught us all the basics of Astrology. Since childhood, we — my family — have been using Astrology to solve domestic problems like locating lost articles or missing animals or even guessing exam results and later solving professional problems. Astrology has always been advocated in our house, by my mother, as a guide.
Also, I saw some of my mother’s startling predictions coming true—like disclosing illegitimate children or predicting political campaigns/ elections and on an international scene even predicting royal divorces. It made me realize that the horoscope, if studied well, is a base and an X-ray of a person. And that the potential of this magnificent science had been untapped, for whatever reason.
But it was only a few years ago, when I was writing a script for a Hindi feature film, that the idea for ‘The Cosmic Clues’ really struck. I realized that I could combine astrology with crime. Being a voracious reader, I had never come across such a literary combination and realized that perhaps no one had handled crime with astrology before. The added advantage was the ready-made research I got from my mother.
Having a female sleuth was a natural choice, perhaps because as a child I wanted to also be a detective! I guess a female sleuth was another way of realizing my personal dream. But on a professional plane I wanted to break away from the stereotypical molds - first of a male PI and also of the Indian woman as a submissive, secondary member of a family in Male-dominated society. (Sounds very sociological, isn’t it? But it is TRUE!)
NRI Pulse – Home of the Indian American family - Interview