Ahead of release of new work, best-selling author-columnist speaks with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now
GN Bureau | October 5, 2021
Chetan Bhagat, the best-selling author and columnist who is launching his tenth novel, ‘400 Days’, on October 8, has said that he had maximum nervousness ahead of the launch of his second and third books as compared to his first book when he was an unknown entity.
In a conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during the webcast of the Visionary Talk series, held by the public policy and governance analysis platform, Bhagat said as readers had expectations from his later books he would feel nervous around the time of their release and lost sleep. Over the years he has worked on his nervousness.
“I had maximum nervousness during the release of my second and third books. During my first book I was not so nervous as then I was an unknown person. I was excited but [not] very nervous. By the time the second and third books were out there were expectations and nervousness had set in. I would lose my sleep a week ahead of the launch. However, over the years I have tried to work on that. Though I am still nervous but am now able to sleep now before a launch.”
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Bhagat said he wrote his latest book during the lockdown and was able to give tremendous focus, which was never the case earlier. Speaking on what his new book is about, he said children today are using phones in a big way and even for their education. Every young child today has a phone. “Any stranger in the world can now reach your child and we don’t have much control over the phone. Are people trying to reach our children? Are our children safe?... ‘400 Days’ brings out this issue,” he said.
He said his book will take readers to the world of children and cybercrimes related to children. “What is happening and what could happen to our children… we don’t pay attention to what’s happening with our children.”
The bestselling novelist added that people today are getting data very cheap and have unlimited digital entertainment. And in today’s era if you are trying to give people a book to read and for them to keep their phone aside for a while, the book has to have a lot in it so that people get hooked to it. To make his book gripping he said he has added mystery, thrill and a love story along with other aspects.”
Since many of his novels have been turned into movies, is there any plan for a film project? Bhagat said now celluloid could be an OTT web series, which is happening in a very big way and people are not going to cinema halls.
He said it will take a while for viewers to go back to cinema halls and the confidence to set in. As many people still do not have the experience of watching OTT, even when life is back to normal, the sheer value of watching OTT at Rs 50-Rs 500 a month and with YouTube and Instagram available for free, people can pass time without going to a cinema hall. This, he said, is going to have an effect on cinema halls as people have tasted it and survived on it for one and a half years.
“While some people will go back to theatres, some will not go as much because you have to spend a lot of money going to a cinema hall vis-à-vis watching OTT. So people may go to cinema halls every two months, which is 50% down,” he said. With Covid impacting shootings including shooting for OTT, he expressed hope the situation turns better in a year.
Asked about his plans for an OTT debut, the novelist said he would not rule it out after the launch of the latest book.
How does he view social media, from the lens of a writer? Bhagat said during the lockdown he was not able to travel for his Motivation Talks and switched over to YouTube for his lectures. “This is a powerful medium. It has had effect on politics of countries all over. I was aware that this is the new literature. We all have to learn to adapt with it. This is the new reality,” he said.
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