22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Deepti Kapoor

Portrait Deepti Kapoor
© Hartwig Klappert

Deepti Kapoor was born in 1980 in Moradabad, India and grew up in Mumbai, Bahrain and Dehradun. She started studying journalism at the University of New Delhi in 1997 and then obtained a master’s degree in psychology. She worked as a journalist for various newspapers for 10 years. Her first novel »A Bad Character« (2014) caused a stir and was short-listed for the prestigious Prix Médicis étranger. 20-year-old college student Idha lives with her aunt in New Delhi; her mother is dead, her father has moved to Singapore. The young woman – hungry for life, but unhappy, isolated and hemmed in by her aunt – longs to break the conventions of family and society and plunges into exciting, pulsating Delhi. When she meets a mysterious older man, whom she describes as a »wild animal in human clothing«, she discards all reservations and fears and starts an affair with him. Idha describes this partly disturbing and self-destructive relationship like this: »I’m beautiful, he’s ugly. The secret is: it turns me on.« Idha has intense sexual experiences and takes drugs. The fascination of the man from the Delhi underworld is that he represents everything Idha’s aunt prohibits, despises and fears. In an interview with the Indian newspaper »Mint«, Kapoor stated that Marguerite Duras’ novel »The Lover« influenced her when she was writing it. The minimalist, sober, unsentimental style with which Kapoor describes the experiences of Idha is also reminiscent of Duras. Kapoor uses the intimate story to describe a universal theme: female desire in a restrictive, conservative society. »A Bad Character« is also a Delhi novel, which in raw and yet lyrical words describes a city at the start of the current century. Kapoor describes the metropolis without euphemisms as a stinking, dangerous and brutal Moloch – which yet exudes a great allure. »Delhi is no place for a woman in the darkness, unless she has a man and a car, or a car and a gun,« it says in the novel. For the anthology, »Walking Towards Ourselves: Indian Women Tell Their Stories«, which examines the role of women in the various Indian castes, Kapoor wrote about her grandmother, who was married at 16, already widowed as a young girl and then studied medicine and became a doctor. The author is currently working on her second novel, which will be called »Mother India«.

Deepti Kapoor lives in Goa, India.