The man needs no introduction. Chetan Bhagat, India’s bestselling author and writer, has always been a controversial figure. His books have been turned into blockbuster movies. We caught up with him recently for some tidbits of wisdom. Read on to know more!
Youngsters make good role models, and I do think that I’m different than Bollywood actors or cricketers, because I went through the education system, and I think that’s the main difference they see in me.Youngsters think that Chetan Bhagat’s also done what his parents would like him to do, but he’s also done what he would like to do, so I guess that is my unique space.
I think it’s more about being a representative of a generation that is very ambitious - they straightaway want to be big! It has its positives and negatives, but it’s coming from there and I’m happy they use it to do better in life. But blind following is also not good - you have to feel inspired. You can’t just imitate someone or be a fan; you have to make your own story.
I think they are very ambitious and their primary focus is going to be themselves. That’s just how people are, especially in a society where wealth has been missing for a long time. Most people have grown up with very little money, and the middle class or lower middle class have already been through a lack of resources, so one of the first things they want to do in life is make sure they have enough money. And then they’ll think about the country- that’s a fact!
It’s not really a bad thing, if everybody wants to make money and everybody makes money, it would lead to a more developed India. What we should keep intact are the values, and how we make that money - it should be through moral means and meritocracy, so that needs to be emphasized.
I don’t want people who read my books to think that it’s getting very repetitive, that one boy meets one girl and they fall in love - I thought it would be a good challenge to write from a woman’s perspective. But it’s not easy - I can do it but I want to do it in a way so that women read it and say, oh my God, how does he understand us?! You can do a story, but it has to be relatable. That means a lot of work.
I cannot honestly answer that question! Sometimes I feel like what's the big fuss about? But my books are simple, accessible and very relatable and more than anything, they are fun! Anybody can read them. I think that is what leads to this.
My subjects have come from India only, and the youth of course. I write a lot of columns, and I’m aware of all the burning issues. For over two years I wrote columns, and if something became very recurring, it could be turned into a book which is how I find a story for my novels. Like about education, I wrote Five Point Someone and Revolution 2020. Now I’d like to write about women because I’ve been writing a lot about women in my columns, so I’m wondering about the story, but I’m not sure yet.
Salman (Khan) was actually one of the first people when Hello came out, even though the film didn’t do very well. This opportunity came to me, and I thought it was a great chance to reach out to more Indians. It was a very different experience - not easy, especially for me, but it allowed me to have a greater reach.
Now we have a series of rapid fire questions for you:
What does your workspace look like? I like Apple, so a lot of Apple devices.
What keeps you from writing: Almost anything.
What aspiring writers must not do: They should not copy anyone.
What do you do when you hit the mythical writer’s block: I do other work.
Interviewed on behalf of So Delhi by Srishti Chaudhary.
Whew! Now that's a man who has strong opinions on pretty much everything under the sun! Watch out for this spirited novelist!