Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Dear Mr.Chetan Bhagat

Dear Mr. Chetan Bhagat,

Firstly, My heartiest congratulations. I recently learnt from various news sources that your latest flick "2 States" is going global. But, you have a set of books that no one can read without shame.  Let me try and explain.

You, along with another equally deplorable writer who writes about her cleavage or her being sixty, are two people who i cannot stand when it comes to Indian writing.

About me first. I am a software engineer by profession but I write for a decent newspaper that encourages people to write well. I am 24. I got my first piece of ‘fan mail’ yesterday. It was from a random guy in Manchester who had been following my writing and was impressed with it.I have been writing a bit ever since early 2009 and I have held on to a handful of followers in various spaces.

I just wanted to inform you that you are not even in the running list of sensible Indian authors (R.K Narayan, Rohinton Mistry and the like). Your writing about call centers, and other places that are just not worth more than a rotten cauliflower,  is definitely not serving any good to mankind. Your writing style is not one. Or to be exact, yours is not a style at all. At this juncture, I definitely need to agree that you have an uncanny but laudable ability to coin words and phrases that can find a place in bollywood scripts straight away.

Wait, that is not all. You went to IIT, we all know you failed miserably there. You wished to write about it, you wrote something about it and by hook or crook, you got published. It could have ended there. But no. Suddenly you went on a spree. You took a shot at the poor call center folks and wrote a lot of shit about them. It didn't end there. You decided to touch upon mistakes by and large. Now, I definitely think the very act of deciding to write such a bad book was your fourth mistake per se. And your latest one can be clearly classified under the heading of "One for bollywood". But it didn't end there either. Your abysmal fourth has been selected for a multilingual by one of the best directors in the industry (Vishal B). Now the last part is where i got pinched. What the hell really? Why are you getting 'n' times lucky with no stuff whatsoever?

I think that not so deep down inside, you do know all this. In my own case, I know I am trivial. I am just writing a few articles and will just keep sticking to this scheme of things.You are doing your writing for a  living. When you grow old, you will remember that you wrote something like one night at the call center/2 States. I feel sorry for you. I don't need to go through those emotions in my fatherhood or grand-fatherhood for that matter.

Art is long and time is fleeting, they say. I, for one, definitely believe in that saying. I know for sure that one day, your foolish followers will turn their backs on you if you continue writing shit like this and somehow meet success in the short term. But to be a good writer, who will be spoken about when his/her great grandson goes to school, you need to write something worthwhile. We know you can't frame simple and proper sentences in TV interviews. But we know you have what it takes to be a runaway short term hit. But the important thing here is you can't earn a living like that in the long term. I suggest you read Indian authors who wrote some sense. You may not appreciate them. But they have a name in the literature wall of fame.

And lastly, please stop writing that crap on the editorial pages of Times of India, People like Swaminathan and M.J.Akbar write there. Please stay away.

P.S : I am not a brag. But I am definitely not happy with the proceedings surrounding your latest novel about your marriage (Uh? Who cares?). Multilingual? Sigh!

Humble blogger


Psittacine said...

was that letter written by u? I had no idea u were writing for a newspaper.. which one?

Sarma said...

applause! something i believe many of us had been wanting to say.. but honestly.. my writing wouldnt have even been close to this.. :) good work machi!

Sarma said...

and just to confirm.. why does ur profile say that one of ur fav books is "Five point someone" when you dont even like this guy's writing?? ;)

Pradeep Sekhar said...

@Madhu: Yea, I write for an online news/views portal called 'The Viewspaper'. A small one, nothing really famous. :-)

@Sarma: Chinna pullaya irukkumbodh create panna blogger profile machan...see how he entices kids when they are young. Now you understand how the fan base grew? I am the first one to turn my back! lol

roguegene said...

There are a few facts that are true and perfectly acceptable in the write up, but a few other parts that looks, totally fueled by your dislike/hate for him.
"yours is not a style at all." - very true. he has no style. his books are just extended blogs.
"Your writing about call centers, and other places that are just not worth more than a rotten cauliflower" - Its a bit harsh, to call 'call center' a place not worth. Its as good or bad as any other situation in a any other book.
"is definitely not serving any good to mankind" - I don't think everyone writes with that as a purpose. A few write with entertainment as the main purpose. And I dont think he claims his books 'art'. I am not a fan of his, but I definitely enjoyed reading his books. They were good as masala-entertaining-escapist-page turners, and I guess that he knows that, pretty well.

Pradeep Sekhar said...

@Mani : I was trying to place Chetan B amongst authors with purpose on the grand stage called literature. Like you said, he is definitely one for the masses. But i think, from a reader's perspective, an author would be considered worthwhile only if he does something outside masala/entertainment by and large. Those things that contribute to the page turning aspects of his books are available on the silver screen. Why a book then? Write a script for a movie!

roguegene said...

@Pradeep - fair enough..:) though your initial post sounded very harsh on him, now it looks like, it is from your expectation that he could and should do much better..

ravi said...

Well, may be he never intends to be on the hall of fame, never wants to write something worthwhile for his future grandkids. May be he is just making a living. Poor chap- leave him alone.I too felt you are biased.

Pradeep Sekhar said...

@Ravi : Probably yes, He doesn't want to do any of those things that form part of the making of a good writer. But then, to make a living, we have given him even more glittering options like the one about script writing in bollywood...Fair enough??