Go back to
Home » My Kolkata » People » Chetan Bhagat on his new audio drama, latest book and connecting with young voters


Chetan Bhagat on his new audio drama, latest book and connecting with young voters

The bestselling author’s thriller, however, follows the format of a drama and encapsulates the thrill, romance, and turmoil of 300-odd pages into 13 episodes

Farah Khatoon | Published 14.05.24, 09:37 AM
Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat

Pictures: Audible

Chetan Bhagat’s 2018 book The Girl in Room 105 is now available in audio format. The bestselling author’s thriller, however, follows the format of a drama and encapsulates the thrill, romance, and turmoil of 300-odd pages into 13 episodes. In a t2 chat, Bhagat talks about the audio book, his latest book 11 Rules For Life, and connecting with young voters.

The Girl in Room 105 was released in 2018 and is now being played out as an audio drama. Please share with us the experience of this new format.


I’m fascinated by how new mediums of storytelling are still coming. We thought with all this technology and data, storytelling would suffer but actually, storytelling is thriving and transforming into different mediums. Something like this, an audio drama, is fascinating because it is almost like a movie. It also allows your imagination to kick in because you’re hearing the sounds and music and the background and the tension. So it’s quite an interesting experience where your brain is the projector and the audio is guiding you. I also particularly like the fact that it doesn’t involve you sitting in front of the same screen and occupying all your time. You can listen to this while folding your clothes, cooking and even while walking. And I think that’s a very nice game-changer here because watching 13 episodes requires a commitment of 13 hours on the screen. The fact that it’s almost like a book comes to life is amazing.

You initiate the audio drama, like you do in the book. Do you have more audio time?

There’s a cameo of mine I inserted in the book in the hope that if ever a movie or an audio drama is made, I will also get cast. They have a pretty high standard when they do the audio drama. You have to have trained actors for that. So I don’t think I am good enough to be a lead character in this, just as I’m not good enough to be a hero in my movies, even though I’ve written the story. It’s the same as a movie apart from the camera, makeup and art direction, there’s casting, editing, scripting, sound design, mixing and dubbing. So, you know, I let the professionals handle it.

If you had a chance to do the main narration, which character would you have chosen?

I would have definitely gone for the main character. Same for all movies if that was a possibility.

The book is a solitary medium while an audio drama is a group thing. How was it sharing your story with a set of professionals?

The Audible team only does it and they’ve done a good job. If they need my input, I’m always there but otherwise, largely the whole show is run and produced by the Audible team, just like in the movies the production house works. I always believe in letting the new team put their creative thoughts, because if I keep controlling them then they will not put their heart into that thing. I know it’ll be a little different from mine, but that’s good because it gives a freshness to it.

Audio platforms are increasingly reinventing themselves. Are you into audiobooks and what’s your audio list like?

I’m really into podcasts and I find them very useful. I am a motivational speaker so I’m really into listening to motivational content. I go to the gym in the morning, and most days I don’t want to go, but if I listen to a nice motivational video, I almost always want to go after that. The two most effective ways of learning are reading and listening. The video is interesting, it’s very absorbing, and it will draw you in but retention is often not very good. If you’ve seen one hour of Reels, you may not remember any of them but, you know, certain speeches get remembered forever. Books are remembered forever. That’s just the way the brain works.

Moving beyond audio drama, tell us about your latest book, 11 Rules for Life.

Interestingly, we are recording this book also and I am reading it, all of it. It’s a classic audiobook so I’m very excited about that as well. It’s my first foray into non-fiction and I feel there is a lot of entertainment out there now but people, especially young people in India, need guidance on how to do well in life. I’ve been making motivational videos on my YouTube (channel) and done more than 700 motivational talks so I just felt I needed to put it all together and turn it into a book and now an audiobook. I have written this book based on my entire 50-year life on what works and what doesn’t work in life. It’s very practical, very action-oriented and people will hopefully like it.

Since we know you write scripts as well and your books become movies and blockbuster films, what can we expect to see next?

We are working on the movie adaptation of One Indian Girl. And since this is election season, I’m doing a show for ABP and we are going to various campuses in India and creating awareness for young people to vote and to ask them about their issues, what they think of when they go to the ballot box, and so on. There are plans to hold the show in Calcutta as well.

Last updated on 14.05.24, 11:36 AM

More from My Kolkata