About Anu Malik's daughter Anmol Malik's debut novel Three Impossible Wishes!

Updated: May 03, 2020, 09:02 IST | Jane Borges | Mumbai

Singer Anmol Malik's debut novel is a campus story that's part inspired from her own life, and part Bollywood

Anmol Malik
Anmol Malik

Anmol Malik was all of six, when she began harbouring dreams of becoming a writer. Bollywood music director Anu Malik's daughter was representing her school, Jamnabai Narsee, at a storytelling competition at the YMCA. "We were given an image, and asked to spin a story around it," she shares in a telephonic interview. "I remember that image very clearly. It was a prince sitting on a giant frog, with the moon behind him." For the next few minutes, the young Malik recalls having captivated the audience and judges with a magical love story about a prince and his princess, set against the moonlight. "I had exceeded the time limit, because I had so much to say." But she won the competition, nonetheless.

Twenty years on, Malik, 25, who has lent her voice to many Bollywood numbers, including the very popular Talli track, is out with her debut novel, Three Impossible Wishes (HarperCollins India), which is not far removed from the story that she first set out to tell. There is the geeky and confused 19-year-old Arya Mahtani, the handsome, irreverent South Delhi ka Drake aka Sahil Malhotra, and a sweet campus story set in University of Wesley, harking back to all the rom-coms we've loved indulging ourselves to. Arya has three wishes—for Sahil to kiss her at the graduation; to get a fill score on her accounting exam, and to be happy. For her last two wishes to work out, she believes that the first would need to come true. Malik, who has a degree in business and computer science, and has also studied Creative Writing from the University of Warwick, England, says that the inspiration to work on this novel, came from her own lived experience. "[British screenwriter] Richard Curtis, whose work I admire, had once said something that really stuck with me. Curtis said, he can't write about things he doesn't know, because it wouldn't sound authentic. I think, there's truth in that. So yes, there's a lot of me in Arya. Some of the negative characters, possibly also carry my flaws inside them."

While Malik took to singing and song-writing quite early on— she has released several singles online, and also has a parallel YouTube music channel by the name Audrey Piano, which she says is her "alter ego"—not known to many, she has also had a flourishing writing career. After working as copywriter at Leo Burnett and at the creative development department at UTV-Disney, she went on to lead the script department at Yash Raj Films. "Meeting these writers, engaging with them, understanding the craft of storytelling, helped enrich my experience and the stories I wanted to write. Movies and music have been a strong influence in my life. Even in a song, it's the lyrics that appeal to me most," she says.

When she got down to working on Three Impossible Wishes in late 2018, she hadn't really seen a book deal come her way. She admits that the book came as a big surprise to her parents. "This space [of writing and publishing] is not something they are aware of, or familiar with. My bade mamu, Shri Hasrat Jaipuriji, was a lyricist, but then again, for the immediate family, this was all very new. I did have their support, but I had to figure my own path."

Though Malik has made her debut with a chic-lit title, she hopes to experiment with sci-fi, which she says is her favourite genre. Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and the Doctor Who books, are the sort of novels that she really wants to pen. "I will get there, when it's time."

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