Shobhaa De is a notable Indian novelist, journalist, columnist, and social commentator, who is regarded as the “Jackie Collins of India.” At the age of seventeen, Shobhaa began her career as a model, but for a brief time, she made her name in modelling. Later, she contemplated changing her profession as a model and pursued her career in Journalism. Shobhaa is famous for portraying socialites and sex in her works of fiction.
Shobhaa De was born as Shobha Rajadhyaksha on Sunday, 7 January 1948 (age 73 years; as of 2021) in Satara district, Maharashtra, India. I Love India Her zodiac sign is Capricorn. She was brought up in Girgaon, Mumbai, India. She obtained a degree in Psychology from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. I Love India
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Shobhaa De belongs to the Saraswat Brahmin family of Maharashtra, India. I Love India
Parents & Siblings
Her father was a district court judge in India.
Shobhaa is the youngest of her four siblings.
Husband & Children
Shobhaa De has been married twice. Shobhaa was first married to Sudhir Kilachand, and the couple became parents to two children, a son named Aditya Kilachand, and a daughter named Avantika Kilachand, her husband’s name is Pramod. Avantika and Pramod has three kids, Anasuya, Ahiliya and Adhiraj.
Shobhaa and her first husband, Sudhir, divorced after a few years of marriage. Shobhaa De then started dating Dilip De whom she eventually married in 1984. The couple has been together ever since and has two children between them, daughters named Arundhati and Anandita.
Her fourth daughter’s name is Radhika. Shobhaa De has a total of six children, including four daughters. One of her granddaughter’s name is Ayesha.
During the year 1994, various Indian television serials on Doordarshan (DD) network including ‘Swabhimaan’ and ‘Shanti’ were scripted by Shobhaa De. She has actively written columns such as “The Sexes” for the magazine “The Week,” an Indian news magazine. Allegedly, these columns and articles brought and accelerated the pace of the sexual revolution among readers. She has penned varied erotic novels too. I Love India
In 1968, Shobhaa De wrote “agony aunt” advice columns for trendy society magazines and began her career as a journalist at the age of 20. Los Angeles Times She started three magazines naming Stardust (a monthly fix of Bollywood gossip), Society, and Celebrity at the age of 23 in 1971. The Guardian
In the 1980s, The Times of India engaged Shobhaa De with its newspaper for writing its Sunday magazine section. Shobhaa has been writing for several newspapers and magazines till then including Mumbai Mirror, Pune Mirror etc. Pune MirrorMumbai Mirror Shobhaa De actively contributes her columns and writings to a fortnightly column for the renowned magazine “The Week.”
- Small Betrayals− Hay House India, New Delhi, 2014
- Shobhaa: Never a Dull De− Hay House India, New Delhi, 2013.
- Shethji− 2012
- Shobhaa at Sixty− Hay House India, New Delhi, 2010.
- Sandhya`s secret− 2009
- Superstar India– From Incredible to Unstoppable
- Strange Obsession
- Spouse: The truth about marriage
- Speedpost– Penguin, New Delhi. 1999.
- Surviving Men– Penguin, New Delhi, 1998
- Selective Memory– Penguin, New Delhi. 1998.
- Second Thoughts– Penguin, New Delhi. 1996.
- Small betrayals– UBS Publishers’ Distributors, 1995
- Shooting from the hip– UBS, Delhi, 1994.
- Sultry Days– Penguin, New Delhi. 1994.
- Sisters– Penguin, New Delhi. 1992.
- Starry Nights– 1989, India, Penguin, New Delhi, 1989.
- Socialite Evenings– 1989, India, Penguin, New Delhi.
- In 2010, Shobhaa De wrote a controversial statement on Indian Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor’s movie, I Hate Luv Storys. Shobhaa penned that it was a dumb story. She commented Sonam Kapoor as “a lassie who lacks oomph” while writing a review for the film ‘I Hate Luv Storys.’ She further tweeted, “I Hate Dumb Storys.” Sonam Kapoor retweeted Shobhaa De being a “gossip who’s getting no action and going through menopause.”
- In 2014, Shobhaa attracted controversy when she tweeted “Bure dinn aa gaye for the family” when BJP leader Gopinath Munde passed away. Shobhaa De modified the slogan of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi titled “Acche din aane wale hain.”
- In 2015, Shobhaa De caught in a controversy when she raised her voice on Twitter against The Maharashtra government’s order to play only Marathi films during prime time in theatres. In her tweet, she called Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis ‘diktatwala’ and termed the order ‘dadagiri.’ Later, a breach of privilege notice was issued against her in the Maharashtra assembly. Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik claimed action against her. He said in the assembly that De’s tweets on ‘Dahi misal’ and ‘vada pav’ replacing popcorn were anti-Marathi.
- In 2015, Shobhaa De tweeted a controversial statement while pointing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the incident, at the Dubai Cricket Stadium, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he saw a mini India in front of him. The audience present there called Narendra Modi a ‘rockstar.’’ Shobhaa De tweeted that Narendra Modi should not be referred to as a ‘rockstar,’ as he was not from Bollywood.
- In October 2015, a complaint was filed against Shobhaa De on her controversial tweet that she ate beef. She announced publically to murder her for eating beef. An Indian animal activist filed a complaint to the commissioner of police of Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, and he demanded action against her tweet. She was heavily trolled and criticised for her tweet as it was regarded as an insult to Hinduism and Hindus who worship the cow.
- In 2016, Shobhaa De attracted another controversy while tweeting on the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro that it was not a sport. Shobhaa tweeted:
Why do we bother about the Olympics? The goal of Team India at the Olympics: Rio jao. Selfies lo. Khaali haat wapas aao. What a waste of money and opportunity.” She criticised Team India for clicking selfies and coming back without winning any medal.
- In 2017, Shobhaa De attracted another Twitter controversy after she fat-shamed a policeman on duty. During the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections in Maharashtra, India, the picture of a policeman was captured by her. Later, Mumbai Police replied to her politely. Shobhaa De tweeted along with a photograph of an overweight policeman with a caption on Twitter in 2017:
Heavy police bandobast in Mumbai today!”
The Mumbai police Twitter handle responded:
We love puns too Ms De but this one is totally misplaced. Uniform/official, not ours. We expect better from responsible citizens like you.”
Later she clarified,
Consult a dietician if it’s an asli, undoctored image doing the rounds.”
It was later revealed that the man under De’s lens was a Madhya Pradesh, India, Police personnel, Daulatram Jogawat. He was an inspector with the Madhya Pradesh police. He elucidated in an interview with a media house that his 180-kilo weight was due to insulin imbalance and not because he overeats. Jogawat stated,
It (weight) is due to my illness that I am so fat, and not due to overeating. I had a gall bladder operation in 1993 and I developed insulin imbalance which resulted in my obesity. If madam wants, she can pay for my treatment. Who doesn’t want to be thin?”
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- She was on the Readers’ Digest List of “India’s Most Trusted People”, along with Ratan Tata and Dr Abdul Kalam, on the list of ‘50 Most Powerful Women in India’ published by the DNA Newspaper, on DNA’s ‘The 50 Influentials’ list in 2019.
- Shobhaa De was honoured with her own imprint under the Penguin Random House umbrella in 2019.
- She was featured on the list of India’s 100 Most Impactful Indians over the past 15 years, by leading lifestyle magazine ‘Verve’ in the Collector’s edition.
- She featured as one of 5 ‘Great Indian Writers Who Changed the Meaning of Books,’ along with R.K.Narayan, Arundhati Roy and Khushwant Singh, on India Today’s Education site in 2015.
- She was on the Absolute Power List 2014, featuring just 8 super achievers including Barkha Dutt, Chanda Kochhar and Kiran Majumdar Shaw.
- She was featured on the list of Google’s 20 Most Searched Indian Women of 2014. She is on the Advisory Board of important Lit Fests in India and abroad.
- In 2013, she was featured as the ‘The 50 Most Powerful People in India on VERVE’s list.
- Music: Madonna, Rihanna, Beyonce, Shakira and A.R. Rahman
- Films: Bollywood- Bobby, Devdas, Jab We Met, Dil Chahta Hai, Lagaan and Hollywood- Chinatown, Jalsaghar, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, all of Truffaut’s films
- Books: Catcher in the Rye, War and Peace, The Little Prince, Tender is the Night, The Great Gatsby, A Suitable Boy
- She also goes by the name “Jackie Collins of India.” Los Angeles Times
- Shobhaa De adores watching movies, listening to music, travelling, dancing, and fashion.
- She has a tattoo engraved on her right arm.
- Shobhaa follows a non-vegetarian diet.
- According to Shobhaa De, her family background was “solidly upper-middle class.” The Guardian
- Mark Fineman of the Los Angeles Times wrote about Shobhaa De,
India’s hottest-selling English-language novelist,” and how her second novel, Starry Nights (1991), had “a drawing of a nude woman on the front cover.”Shobhaa De replied to Mark Fineman on her statement. They said it was the first time they’d broken through the ‘F’ barrier, the first time they’d run the F-word without asterisks.”
- In 2007, Urmee Khan penned for Shobhaa De,
Her books are steeped in a lifetime’s observation of Bollywood,” and “They describe a side of the country that western audiences rarely encounter, her central themes being power, greed, lust and sex.”
- In an interview, Shobhaa was asked about the status of women in India after ten years then Shobhaa answered that a big change she saw as many educated ladies in Indian societies were financially empowered. Shobhaa said,
Well… In Mao’s poetic and apt words – ” Women hold up half the sky.” I believe that. Ten years from now, I see many more educated women – the biggest change will come when these financially empowered ladies push for reforms that are in the interests of society at large, and women in particular.”
- In a conversation with a media house, Shobhaa stated that her inspiration to write amazing books has a story within herself and her personal life experiences. She said,
Each one of us has a story within – whether or not you choose to narrate it, is up to you. Life itself is so inspiring, how can one not be propelled into chronicling it??
- In 2010, Shobhaa de established a publishing imprint and named it “Shobhaa De Books” along with the Penguin Book, a British publishing house. The Times of India
- In 2013, Shobhaa De joined Hollywood star Sharon Stone while attending an American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) event in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
- In 2013, in an interview, Shobhaa said that her blogs were more communicating with a chatty approach. She further added that she wrote her own experiences and feelings, and to connect with readers she wrote on movies, politics, fashion, food and celebrities. She explained,
My blog is freewheeling and spontaneous. I don’t really ‘pre-plan ‘ a post. It is more cathartic and communicative, with a chatty approach. The topics vary – it could be a strong comment on a movie, politics, fashion, food, a celeb, an international happening, a social issue… or even my own little discoveries while travelling. For me, it is important to connect with those who visit and share my feelingsexperiences.”
She further added that she had developed a habit to reply to the comments on her blog and she did not employ anyone to manage her blog. She said,
I read every single comment and try to respond directly to those that interest me. It’s not physically possible to respond to every one, since I don’t employ people to manage my blog. It is pretty much a one-woman show. I love the relationships I’ve established through this space. I enjoy the banter and frequent interactions.”
- According to Shobhaa De, the Indian Society had started coming out in open with topics related to sex and Indian Bollywood was very silly in what it said about our society. She said that the popular culture of India provided a small glimpse into a micro section of our society. Shobhaa replied,
Indian society is very thrilled with its own, ‘new,’ improved’ openness. I think this is more superficial and synthetic than any real change. Popular culture provides a small glimpse into a micro section of our society, nothing else reflects our feudalistic mindset as our attitude to women – even urban women, who continue to lead an existence of second class citizens. BOLLYWOOD is ludicrous in what it says about our society. It is a twisted, idiotic representation of the changing social scene. “
- Shobha De applauded the role Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in 2013 played while preparing the strategies. She stated that he was a quick learner and an active activist turned politician. She said in an interview that corruption was the main agenda in his publicity. She regarded Arvind Kejriwal as more than a symbol rather than a politician. She said,
Clearly, he’s a quick learner. He switched strategies and toned down, which worked in his favour. He also got rid of some high-profile publicity seekers, who were distracting his followers and taking away the focus from his agenda. He is far from being viewed as a national leader. I would say Kejriwal is more a symbol than a real neta. But let’s not downgrade the power of that symbol.”
- In 2015, Shobhaa De received high police security when she criticised the Maharashtra government for making the screening of Maratha films obligatory for multiplexes and cinema halls during prime time, in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Shiv Sena activists protested outside her residence and the Shiv Sena replied to her on her tweet,
Had Bal Thackeray not done “dadagiri” to preserve Marathi culture, her forefathers would “have been born in Pakistan” and she would have “attended Page-3 parties in a burqa.”
- In 2016, Ankita Shukla (The Times of India reporter) quoted for Shobhaa De,
Unignorable has been Shobhaa De’s unabashed description of the womenfolk in her novels. De’s women range from traditional, subjugated and marginalized to extremely modern and liberated women. De’s novels take a leaf the urban life and represent realistically an intimate side of urban woman’s life, also revealing her plight in the present-day society.”
- In 2016, Shobhaa De launched the book of Indian lawyer Ram Jethmalani, ‘The Rebel.’
- On 27 September 2014, Shobhaa De inaugurated the first edition of the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF), and she became a part of it since its first edition.
- In 2017, on the closing day of the Kolkata Literary Festival in West Bengal, India, Shobhaa De was spotted during a candlelight vigil.
- In an interview, Shobhaa motivated those who were thinking of starting writing a new blog. She said that keep the topics simple and relevant and enjoy while writing and she advised the budding writers to treat their followers with respect. She said,
What’s stopping you??? Go for it! But remember, if you want to use your blog to communicate ideas, keep narcissism out of it. Avoid the ‘I. Me and Myself’ syndrome. Keep it topical and relevant. Enjoy yourself. Blogs are an extension of a blogger’s personality. Treat followers with respect at all times. Don’t abuse the space by using it to settle personal scores or parade your vanities.”
- According to Shobhaa De, urban India defined every aspect of her life. In an interview, she was asked about the focus and fascination behind writing urban areas. She answered that she had evaluated that urban India was progressing in the future and would change according to the world changes. She explained,
Urban India defines every aspect of my life – it is my milieu. I cannot write about realities not my own – what do I know about rural life? How phoney! Besides, writers generally choose their turf and stick to it – Vikram Seth does not write about India’s villages either. Life in urban India will evolve and change as the world changes. I don’t know whether one can call that ‘progress’!”
- Shobhaa De is an opinion shaper and a renowned commentator. She actively delivers various interactive sessions in India and all around the world.
- As a prominent Indian writer, Shobhaa De has often invited by many Bollywood stars to inaugurate and launch their books.
- According to Shobhaa De, The most gratifying aspect of blogging was that it was liberating with no word limits or any space constraints to write and finish it. She further added that blogs provided continuous feedback to a writer on their writings. She said that the bloggers learned a lot from their follower. She said,
It is soooo liberating! There are no word limits or space constraints. As a writer, I can receive instant feedback from some really sharp minds who are followers. I learn a lot from them. Blogs represent creative freedom – I love that.”
- Various Indian magazines and tabloids often feature Shobhaa De on their cover page.
- Shobhaa De often attends the gathering of writers and readers during Literary Festivals in India.
- Shobhaa De is an animal lover. She often posts pictures of her pet dog on her social media account.
- Shobhaa De merged with the Bollywood star Sonu Sood and launched Shobhaa De’s ‘Lockdown Liaisons’ in 2020 on Twitter amid coronavirus lockdown in India.
- On the demise of Bollywood actor Shushant Singh Rajput, Shobhaa De tweeted and commented harshly at people from Bollywood. She said,
A can of worms has opened with the tragic death of one of our most talented young stars. Bollywood needs to clean up its nasty act before more lives are lost. @sushantsinghrajput.”
- In April 2021, Shobhaa De slashed those who were holidaying in the Maldives amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On her social media account, she said that this was not the time to boost your Instagram numbers and stay quiet in your holiday home with masks up. She further added that help or if you could not do anything, then shut up and stay home as that was not a fashion week. She said,
For all of you vacationing in Maldives and Goa and exotic locales, remember, it’s a holiday for you. It’s a bloody pandemic all over. So be don’t be an insensitive idiot and post pictures of your privileged life. You’re not only coming across as brainless but also completely blind and tone-deaf. This is not the time to boost your Instagram numbers. This is the time to step up and help or if you can’t do anything, then shut up and stay home. Or stay quiet in your holiday home… masked up. No photos. This is not fashion week or Kingfisher calendar time!”
- On 18 August 2018, Imran Khan was elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan. Shobhaa De tweeted on his victory and said to him that come to India and get a hug.