All I feel is sympathy for my trollers: Chetan Bhagat
New Delhi: When you talk to him about the trolling he is subjected to on social media, he smiles that it has stopped bothering him now.
"Anybody who is relevant gets trolled. Come on, people do not spare the Prime Minister even. What can you do? You need to be someone to get trolled. But honestly, if you ask me, I feel pretty sad for those who spend all their time and energy on trolling. Worst part being, they are so predictable that it is not even funny anymore. I really have sympathy for them, all they are doing is giving celebrities great engagement," he tells IANS.
Bestselling author Chetan Bhagat, whose latest book '400 Days' (Westland Publications) recently hit the stands is certain that this is best work ever. For someone who has written around nine novels and three non-fiction titles, many of which have been made into Hindi films, the lockdowns provided an opportunity to focus like never before.
"In the pre-Covid era, besides writing, there were a host of activities that I would regularly undertake -- events, motivational talks and travelling extensively.There were times when I would be on the road, and then in the middle, would come back to finish a chapter of a new book. In short, a lot of distractions. However, the lockdowns forced me to be at home. There was nothing else I could do apart from writing," Bhagat says.
'400 Days' is the third book from the Keshav-Saurabh series and revolves the story of a missing girl 'Siya' and her mother's determination to bring back her daughter even when everyone in the family has given up.
The author says that during his travels and motivational talks, he gets a pulse of modern India and what the young are looking for, something that helps him make better stories which are relatable. "Right from my first book in 2004, I have been picking up contemporary issues facing the country."
Adding while a story should have multiple ingredients to ensure that it is unputdownable, the author says that his books always have a "certain message". "That, plus an entertaining story -- be it about romance, friendship or mystery. Even though the package is entertaining, there is a certain message in every book I write.Well, this is the tenth one, so I guess the combination has worked.
Talking about his motivational talks which he gives across the country, and now also on his YouTube channel, the author recalls that during book launches and other events, people would often ask him questions related to living a fruitful life etc. "And slowly, I became a motivational speaker. And it kind of helped me learn about India, as I would travel across the country for them. These talks have become an indispensable part of me now."
While multiple ideas with potential for a book may keep striking him, Bhagat says that many dissolve after a few days but there are some that keep coming back. "It is like -- okay, this one has potential. Let me carry this for one more week in my mind and see if it can grow further, just like a little plant if it grows more trees. It is also about what will challenge me? Murder mysteries are hard to write -- how do you get the perfect suspense, trust etc. It is difficult. Thus, it was interesting to dive into them -- I wrote two. And then I asked myself -- what is the next level of challenge? And then I thought, okay, a missing child's story. Can it be made interesting, fun, thrilling... Everything?" says the author who prefers to work on one book at a time.
Fondly recalling his experience in the Hindi film industry, Bhagat on whose books films like '2 States', '3 Idiots', 'Half Girlfriend' and several others have been made, asserts the author says that he has always had the clarity that he wanted to reach as many people as possible, and what could be a better medium than films? "I would love to do more work there but Covid has kind of slowed down things, and there is a huge backlog in the industry."
Post writing two books back to back, he now wants to pause and start travelling again. "I have been missing going to different parts of the country. One does not really have to work so much all the time. It is ok," he concludes.