Chetan Bhagat who lent his support for the recently held literary fest in Mumbai-Pune announces his next book, besides talking about the mass market and the
3 Idiots controversy
As India's bestselling writer walks towards the venue for Literary Live! on the final day of the event at Lavasa, a township on the outskirts of Pune, we see a slim and trim Chetan. The author had mentioned last year that being a youth icon he couldn't afford to be unfit, and he seems to have duly worked on that. "Have I really lose weight," he asks the journos present, as we walk towards the greenroom before he can begin his eagerly awaited session.
This IIT-IIM graduate, featured by Time magazine as one of the most influential people in the field of books, has been significantly responsible for the rise of the mass fiction market in India. Chetan understands his contribution in getting young India to read, and thereby facilitating such literary events to get a receptive audience. "Otherwise literary festivals so far were only about writers discussing their works among themselves. That's not a convention. You need readers to participate," he says.
The success of his bestsellers, Five Point Someone, One Night @ A Call Centre, among others, were mainly responsible for opening the floodgates for the mass fiction market. However, this has also led to cheap imitations where a lot of trashy writing gets published. While one ought to be happy about the genre of Indian Writing In English finally expanding across segments and being more inclusive than ever, but without adequate filtration, isn't there a fear that it could bring down the overall standard of IWE? Chetan agrees that the market is getting flooded with all kinds of books, but he's not too worried. "Finally only the quality books will get sold, the others will dissapear," he says.
Earlier this year, Chetan took on the makers of 3 Idiots over credit issues, and got the better share of public sympathy and support. He's happy that the incident proved to be a watershed one, with Bollywood getting more conscious about giving due credit to its writers. "So many people within the industry called me and said they supported me. You can't cheat people in today's times. Whether it's a politician or anyone, if you are in the wrong, you will get caught and have to go!" he says.
Yet, Chetan wants to put the incident behind him and concentrate on other things. "Yes, my 5th book will come out next Diwali," he says, not willing to give away anything more on it.
Here's wishing him all the luck!