By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, Sep 5 (IANS) Chetan Bhagat's columns on education and corruption inspired him to write "Revolution 2020", but the author clarifies that the book is not a political novel and that there is no political agenda either.
"It isn't a political novel as such, and there is no political agenda either. However, when you look at politics in the broader sense in terms of making people think in a certain manner, then I am hoping "Revolution 2020" will do that to a certain extent," said Bhagat.
"It is inevitable that some of my thoughts about social issues will creep into my stories. However, I am very strict about not indulging in social messages too much.
Set to hit stalls in October, the book is described by the author as "at its heart, a love story about individuals."
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: The title suggests of your new book "Revolution 2020" has an epic quality to the tale. Is this your most epic book to date?
A: It is a somewhat grand title and at some level it represents the grand aspirations of one of the characters. However, it still is, at its heart, a love story about individuals. Yes, compared to my other books, it is somewhat larger in scope.
Q: The novel's theme suggests a triangular love tale against a socio-political backdrop. What has prompted you to try this format?
A: I became involved with national issues, especially when I started to write columns two years ago. Education and corruption became the two causes I wrote about the most in my opinion pieces. As I delved deeper into understanding India, I felt a revolution was inevitable. To explore that idea more, I had started writing "Revolution 2020" two years ago...Quite amazingly, the book is coming out at a time when we have some early signs of a revolution in front of us.
Q: How much of the socio-political upheavals influences your fiction?
A: It is inevitable that some of my thoughts about social issues will creep into my stories. However, I am very strict about not indulging in social messages too much. A story needs to be entertaining and be able to connect with the readers foremost. If a social thought can fit into that I incorporate it.
Q: How political is "Revolution 2020"?
A: It isn't a political novel as such, and there is no political agenda either. However, when you look at politics in the broader sense in terms of making people think in a certain manner, then I am hoping "Revolution 2020" will do that to a certain extent.
Q: How much pressure did you feel to deliver the novel to your expectant readership? Does that pressure take away from the pleasure of writing?
A: There was significant pressure at the start. The book is coming after "2 States", "3 Idiots" and two years of writing columns. I've a lot more readers than the previous book, and it is difficult to make everyone happy at the same time. However, the early reviews of "Revolution 2020" are extraordinary, and I am now not worried at all. I think the book will deliver to expectations and some more.
Q: The movie rights of all your novels have been sold. Do you enjoy the thought of your words being given a visual spin?
A: Yes, of course. I write in English, which though is growing at a fast pace, does not reach a majority of Indians. Also, many Indians still prefer movies over books. So, if a medium allows my story to reach new people, why not? However, it is not the main reason why I write, and I do not obsess about the film adaptations anymore. I'm fortunate to have a large readership for my books already.
Q: There has been no progress on the movie version of "2 States". Is that a bother?
A: Not at all. I have realised that the films business is slow and depends on many factors...I sold the rights of "Five Point Someone" in 2005, and "3 Idiots" only came in 2009. Even "Hello" took three years. A lot of filmmakers have told me "2 States" has enormous potential, and so I am confident the film will get made.
Q: Finally, what would you tell your young readers about the fight against corruption which Anna Hazare has started?
A: I would like to congratulate the youth who came together, irrespective of identity differences to fight for the right cause and defend the truth. Truth shall prevail are the first words in the constitution. Without a foundation of truth, equality and justice, democracy is meaningless. We must restore the foundation if we want to be a great nation.