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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Chetan Bhagat gets candid

‘Okay with not being the best author as long as I am a bestselling author’

Stuti Das (t2 Intern) Published 30.08.21, 04:22 AM
Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat Sourced by the correspondent

Prabha Khaitan Foundation in their series named ‘Kalam Vishesh’, hosted Chetan Bhagat in a candid and interactive live session on August 13, where Apra Kuchhal was in conversation with the bestselling writer. In his career as a novelist over more than a decade, he has made a mark as a contemporary author, known for his simplistic writing of romance novels. However, his latest book launched this February, One Arranged Murder, is a break from the romance genre. After writing nine romance novels, he has now shifted genre to explore a murder mystery. The conversation with Kuchhal delved into the mind of the author, exploring his motivations behind his writings to his unique ability to instantly connect with young readers and much more.

Bhagat is an ardent believer of adaptability and emphasised the importance of change as a writer. The extreme shift in this genre of writing, for him, was a result of an attempt to experiment, which is inherently difficult, and a murder mystery was the way to do it. He had to read at least 100 murder mysteries before he could take the plunge into exploring the genre.

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Equally appreciated and critiqued as a writer who uses simple English in his novels, Apra asked Chetan Bhagat whether it was a conscious choice, to which he replied, “There is a saying that ‘write to express and not to impress’.” As a writer who has written in both English as well as Hindi, he acknowledged the broad gap in the hierarchy of languages, agreeing to the fact, “What you say matters and not the language.”

Apart from being a novelist, he has also received appreciation as a motivational speaker. On being asked if he has gone through moments of self-doubt, he replied, “Yes, even doctors fall sick.” He then briefly talked about how he stayed motivated during the pandemic and shared: “In Singapore the only way to remove masks on the streets was to run. So, at the age of 46, I became a runner.” While he is in the process of writing, he reads nothing but motivational books to keep himself motivated.

The rapid digitisation of most forms of art does not worry the author, rather only with a slight disappointment he stated that the outreach is greater. If a book signing were to happen at a venue it would have had to have a big budget whereas social media is mostly free, with almost 90 per cent of the ads being on digital media. As a pillar of democracy, digital media seeks content, said the author. Hence, the demand for good writing will barely ever diminish, but as an author one has to evolve with time.

He believes that his name has a brand value, which has its own advantages that he uses to motivate people, talk about national issues and, most importantly, tell stories. The essence of his writing, with age, has more experience and wisdom. But if age were to become a factor, then it would only be his connection with the youth, to offer them what they want but not in his writing. He is open to “a life beyond Chetan Bhagat, the author”, and eventually would like to focus on health and family.

“Chetan Bhagat has been one of the most sought-after authors for sessions amongst our associates. The special virtual conversation with him was attended by guests from over 25 cities. He left the audience mesmerised with his candid and unreserved tete-a-tete, speaking about his life, books, critics, and more,” said Manisha Jain, branding and communication chief at Prabha Khaitan Foundation.

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