Interview of Olivier Lafont - Author of 'Warrior'

On 18th December I reviewed 'Warrior' a debut novel written by Olivier Lafont. 

We know him as Suhas Tandon, Kareena's Fiance in 3 Idiots and Father Samuel in Guzaarish, we have seen him in various commercials as well. He has written the screenplay for the award-winning feature film Hari Om, the story of a French woman lost in Rajasthan and saved by a rickshaw driver. Olivier is a regular columnist for Man's World, a gentlemen's monthly magazine. Visit Olivier Lafont's Page for details on his career as writer, actor and model, voice-over artist; browse through the filmography and read the list of commercials he features in.

Truth be told, I was completely unaware of the above mentioned details. I have seen 3 Idiots, I know Suhas Tandon, but did I ever try to find out the name of the actor who played the role? No. I have seen Guzaarish, I have seen the commercials as well but it was not until I was approached for the review of 'Warrior' did I find out about the above mentioned details of Olivier Lafont.

Look to the right - who would not like to see a model like him on screen? I'd like it too, but, most importantly I would like to know more about the 'author' Olivier.
On a lighter note, I'd say -
When I look at Olivier, I think of his head. And what's inside it. The mind. The brain, all those coils, and his thoughts shuttling through those coils like fast, frantic centipedes. Of course, I do not picture opening his skull and unspooling his brain and sifting through it.
(Ref: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn)
I'd be satisfied with a simple Interview.

On a serious note -
If someone talks to me about Olivier Lafont in future; my immediate reaction would be "Oh,you mean the author of Warrior?"
He has left such a lasting impression on me. I do not think I am going to forget the name Olivier and the book Warrior for a long time.
I am trying to lay my hands on his Novella - Purgatory : Gun of God and would love to read more books by him in future.

Before we start the interview; let us go through the details of the book and about Olivier Lafont.

About Warrior:
The novel ‘Warrior’ is a high octane, action-packed story that travels all over India and beyond. The hero, Saam, is an immortal warrior who is forced to come out of hiding in today’s Mumbai to pick up arms again and take to the road. His epic journey spans three days across an India torn by unnatural cataclysms, and even stranger lands. To bring back peace Saam must stoke his consuming hunger for war - but at what cost to himself? The book was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia prize.

Join Saam, last son of the Destroyer, on his epic quest to save all existence.

In Mumbai, driven to its knees by a merciless blizzard, Saam the watch mender is cornered into an intolerable position. As Shiva's only earthly demigod child, it falls upon him to stop his indomitable father.
Bred to war, the son of destruction, Saam rides with six extraordinary companions into the horror of a crumbling world to face Shiva.He is forced to join hands with Ara, his half-brother he can never fully trust, and take with him his own mortal beloved, Maya, on this desperate attempt to stop the End of Days. But his path is littered with death, danger and betrayal.
Interweaving mythology, epic adventure and vintage heroism, this enthralling novel will change the way you see Gods, heroes and demons.

Buy from | Flipkart

About Olivier Lafont:

Olivier Sanjay Lafont (born October 31, 1979) is a French actor and writer living in Mumbai, India. He has acted in Hindi feature films such as blockbuster hit 3 Idiots and the critically acclaimed Guzaarish, as well as over seventy television commercials for top Indian brands. He has written the screenplay for the award-winning feature film Hari Om. He is also a regular columnist for Man's World, a gentlemen's monthly magazine.

Olivier Lafont is the son of Dr. Jean-Marie Lafont, an award-winning historian and author. Olivier Lafont moved from his hometown Lyon to New Delhi at the age of 7 and attended the American Embassy School. He made the Academic Honor Roll throughout, was inducted into the National Honor Society, and graduated with the biggest scholarship offer from a university to an AES student in more than twenty years. He was inducted into the International Thespian Society, and received four Ganesh awards for lead and supporting lead roles in various theatre productions. Lafont played varsity basketball for AES, winning two championships and remaining unbeaten for two years, and was named an All-Star for both tournaments.

He went to Colgate University on a scholarship, where he received bachelor's degrees in Theatre as well as English Literature. Lafont earned a theatre fellowship for his acting, made the Dean's List all eight semesters, graduated magna cum laude, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.


Connect with Olivier: Facebook Page | Twitter


Thursday evening saw the launch of actor-writer Olivier Lafont's mythological fantasy novel 'Warrior' at a leading bookstore in south Mumbai.The book has been creating a buzz in literary circles, making this one of the most keenly awaited book launches this year.
Olivier Lafont, son of a French historian has been a familiar face on film and television with his much loved roles in ads and films like ‘3 Idiots’, ‘Guzaarish’, and even two Hollywood films. Lafont is also a scriptwriter: his first film opened at the Toronto Film Festival and went on to win several international awards.
When asked about the book Lafont says, ‘Writing ‘Warrior’ was like having my own epic IMAX 3D summer blockbuster film in my head. I hope readers will experience it the same way!’

In conversation with Olivier Lafont -

1. Tell us something about the ‘writer’ you. When did this journey of writing start?
When I was growing up in France I loved cartoons, anime, and films, the usual stories little boys are thrilled by. Then when I was seven my family moved to India, and I didn’t speak a word of English. I learned English at school, and with it came a new fascination for language and love for writing. So writing is something I wanted to do from a very young age, and my intent about it never wavered. 

2. Warrior – your debut novel. Can you tell us something about it?
‘Warrior’ is this really intense, fast-paced adventure, an epic fantasy story set in modern times. My hero Saam is an immortal demigod, the son of Shiva the Destroyer and a mortal woman, and he’s inherited massive destructive powers from his father. He’s part of a secret community of other such demigods who live hidden in our world, our neighbourhoods, they could be anyone we cross on the street. When the book begins Saam has turned his back on his divine nature and his violent past, and has finally found peace and love and a blessedly mundane life in Mumbai. Things take a quick turn for the worse when the world begins to end, with unnatural cataclysms tearing the Earth apart. Saam has three days to save everything, but that means facing his own father, Shiva, with whom he’s had a particularly nasty history… 

3. How this whole idea got conceptualized? Was it something you always wanted to write and felt THIS was the time?
The original idea behind ‘Warrior’ was actually for a film I conceptualised more than a dozen years ago before I moved to Mumbai. I wanted to write a film like those big special effects Hollywood films, those summer blockbusters, but I wanted it to be an original Indian story. A large part of my inspiration was the Mahabharata, which is for me the most complex and comprehensive epic in all of literature. I turned the screenplay into a book quite a few years back, but then got busy with work again so it went back into the drawer. But no, it’s not like ‘Warrior’ was that story I wanted to write since I was a kid. I’ve written a lot of stories before, and a fair number after, that are all in the genre, and heroic in scope. 

4. A writer, an actor…. There are so many aspects to you as an individual. Which one do you connect the most with?
I connect with these crafts distinctly, and each one gives me a different thrill. The openness and omnipotence of writing is very different from the precision and restricted artistry of acting. For me they’re both different facts of the same craft: storytelling. When I write I enact the scene and dialogue in my mind, and when I act I construct my character and scenes and dialogue like a script. So the two are very tied to each other. 

5. Given that you are into the film industry, do you see this book being made into a motion picture? If yes, do you see yourself playing a role in it? If no, who do you feel is better suited?
I think ‘Warrior’ could make a fantastic film. Since I first wrote it as a feature film script I think it has a cinematic quality that remains in the book. Of course ‘Warrior’ would have to appeal and make sense to a major studio, I believe the budget and technical considerations could best be shouldered by a major producer.  As for playing a role in a film version of ‘Warrior’, I’ve already played and lived every character in the book during the writing process. I’m sure you can imagine what fun it would be as an actor-writer to play a character I’ve written! 

6. Any one character in the book you closely connect with and why?
Saam, of course. I created and constructed him from a particular set of ideas and purposes, I know and understand him very well. His past struggles, his current struggles, his history, his choices today, to me they were all fascinating decisions to make as I was creating him and his journey. 

7. How does it feel seeing the rave reviews your book has been gathering? Any review in particular that you might want to share with us which stood out from the rest?
It’s a good feeling to know that people have appreciated the book, and for people to say such wonderful things about it. I write in large part to share my stories with people, and if they like it I feel a great deal of satisfaction.
Prasad NP, who mostly does travel writing on his blog Desi Traveler, was kind enough to do a review of ‘Warrior’, and he wrote a detailed, analytical, and extremely lucid piece on it. You can find it at this link: Desi Traveler

8. Do we see you experimenting with genres?
I think I will write in different genres, although fantasy is really closest to my heart. Mainly I’ll just be following my interests as they grow and evolve. 

9. We would like to know about any future projects you are currently working on.
Right now I’m completely focused on ‘Warrior’, but once it’s done I’ll be returning to a script I just wrote. For the first time I’ve written a film with myself as the main character, a really fun comedy, and I’m looking to partner with a producer for it. 

10. Some words for your readers.
I just hope they enjoy ‘Warrior’ and feel like I’ve given them a story to remember. I wrote it straight from the heart - something that I daresay you, Arti, and your own blog readers would be familiar with… 

Thank you very much, Olivier, for your time and wish you the best for your future endeavours.

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