First published in Malayalam as Ente Katha on February 1, 1973, the autobiography was admired as much as it was controversial as it was about a woman in the 1970s writing about her sexual desires, abuse and extramarital affairs.
Written like a novel, it follows Das’ life from missionary schools in Kolkata, an abusive marriage, her extramarital affairs, her children and finally to how she became a writer.
Ente Katha was also serialised in a weekly literary magazine called Malayalanadu. Its content had some of Das’ own relatives trying to block the book from being published. Das later admitted that some sections of the book were fictionalised.
Google described Das as a woman “determined to live life on her own terms”. “The Doodle celebrates the work she left behind, which provides a window into the world of an engrossing woman,” Google said.
Das’s My Story, as Scroll.in has previously written, was “one of the most brutally honest tellings of what it was like to be an independent-minded woman in India, catapulting Das to the status of an icon for women yearning to escape the domestic oppression and forge a sexual identity”.
In 2017, two filmmakers said they were making biopics on the author and poet, but only one has the sanction of Das’s family. Veteran Malayalam director Kamal said his film, Aami, will be a family-oriented one that brings to the fore Das’s unconventional work and life choices.
Jaisurya Das, one of the writer’s three sons, told Scroll.in in March 2017 that the family had given Kamal the rights to make Aami and dub it in English. “The permission was given by the Estate of Kamala Das, a legal entity formed by the legal heirs of the late Kamala Das,” he said.
Jaisurya Das said the movie will show all aspects of Kamala Das’s life. “There will be a lot of fiction. That is how movies work. But it is a genuine attempt to show all the controversies she faced,” he said.
Aami has Malayalam actor Manju Warrier playing the author. Earlier in January, a trailer of the film was released. It shows Das’s early life, her growth as a popular writer and her transformation into Kamala Surayya after embracing Islam.
In 2017, Tamil director Leena Manimekalai also announced a biopic, saying her film, Kamala Das, will be in English and will “portray the writer honestly”. “For me, she is a bundle of contradictions. It is not made for the market,” she told Scroll.in.
Das, who died in May 2009, has been immortalised not only by My Story, but also by the several other novels and poems she wrote that were honest, bold and passionate.