[dropcap1 color=”blue”]M[/dropcap1]y appeal to wannabe writers or novelists – kindly cease to abuse Indian Literature & Fiction if you can’t come up with anything readable and  SENSIBLE. Rise of “Chetan Bhagat Clones” will be yet another paraphrase to express my resentment here.

Sample this :
Love @ Facebook

Jabse You Have Loved Me
It’s Called Love Baby
The Girls @ IIT
Oh Shit ! Not Again
Patyala Down De Throat …

How one could endure these dreadful titles even, let alone the pathetic contents within the book ??? Sad enough, but with spurt of literary disasters like these, now I’m convinced of Indian Youth’s obsession with Love, Sex & Dhokha.

Biblical blunder, as one may call it, has pissed me off literally because of the fact that I don’t see anything coming apart from love (or is it?), sex, romance, flirt, betrayal, campus antics, cheap humor, urban shots and all those frivolous dumps in print. The sleazy and titilating title to lure teen readers is yet another fuming factor for anyone like me who appreciate great works and literary pieces.[blockquote align=”right”]Writing diary once used to be the mode of disgorging out one’s frustration, now there are Novels …[/blockquote] And its a no brainier that almost all of them comes out to be a 100-200 page synonym of each other. I wonder if Indian novelists are mass observing creativity crisis that hurry-curries are being dished out of such tasteless recipes. My rant is towards the overdose & manipulation of the same topic, if not the budding writers (my only single piece of encouragement to them as a critique).

Lollipop Literature
Lollipop Literature ?

Blasphemous bollywood or lunatic literature ?

It’s apparently evident that the industry is following Bollywood’s trail which has picked Masala as its only savior after succumbing to inventiveness. Novels by no means are typical Bollywood Multiplex Cinemas whose ultimate aim is to collect as much as from the first week of release with no sense of making classics or timeless stuffs. Almost none of the names bequests the impression or simply strives to make it big and earn the cult status. Even the book titles would imbibe Bollywood’s banality. Hype also being the belying force underneath the both. Interestingly, such candyfloss novels also embrace the same fate as any other popcorn movies – no one is going to re-read or even remember it after sometime.

So whats in the author’s mind ?

Personal wish fulfillment of course with an obvious lust to see the name in cover. Sudden claim to fame with sordid scribbles is the next best thing after love-making. Writing diary once used to be the mode of disgorging out one’s frustration, now there are Novels ( given that most of the titles are autobiographical treat in disguise). “And why not to materialize those blogs & status posts that I religiously put through over the time. Only effort I’d need is to get them compiled in a paperback” – and finally, Ill have my own bestseller to flaunt and woo my peers.

And who are the readers ?

Since Chetan Bhagat has got India reading (craze among first time readers), there is no dearth of takers with compromised taste. Read them, but you cant have self pride of reading the stalwarts in this domain. And since the readership is majorly limited to youngsters who co-relates it with their own life (with a hallucination of being practical or true-to-life or mundane affairs), this has become a highly exploited segment. “It-relates-to-my-life” & “Everyone-else-is-reading-it” is probably the compelling factor with them. I even  pity young readers who after gulping run of the mill pill think that they have really read something “osum”. Many go by the rage & hype, not their own will to read something which oozes out quality. Also mistaken as love manuals, maybe the mushy content caresses lovelorn hearts.

Who can write – any pre-requisites ?

Hailing from IIT, IIM or any other ivy league college could have been an added advantage to garnish back covers, but no more now. Any tom dick and harry can now enjoy the premiership of getting themselves published. Consolidate your Facebook’s status of an year, and you have a Novel with enough “fundooness” quotient in it at your disposal. And if you run out of ideas, SMS forwards and jokes in chain-mails will be of great aid. Even the memoirs of losing a boyfriend can consummate into a chick-lit and a “national bestseller” eventually.

And what should be my language then ?

With bindaas & horny being the quintessential element here, extensive and cunning usage of “F-word” and the likes is a must to make the Novel youthful and appealing. This would make you Sidney Sheldon & Khushwant Singh equivalent and you’ll finally settle with a Bold Badge. You must be a wordsmith who can deceptively summarize the nonsense chit-chat you have been doing all for a while in the college (or maybe school) days. And mind you, never ever try to write something in Hindi (or any other mother language) as this may tarnish your image of a modern author. Also, since your editors & proof readers are not going to embarrass you of your English or gramattical skills, one is free to take the advantage of Lollipop Literature which knows no boundation. iM eXpctNg fUtuRe nOVels wiD dIs enGLsH fLaVa oNly – hIp n cOOl, AiN’t iT ???

What topic to follow with ?

Sex sells, and so does the love – no fear & concern of being overwritten. Anything other than this will be a grave sin to do and the author may be hanged till death. Social, Poignant, Spiritual, Travelogues, Philosophy, Enlightenment and similar topics may get you into the deep trouble of not keeping up with budding Nation’s interest. As an author, you have no right to keep the morals intact here in the glitzy world of hip-hop novels. In a nutshell – no holds barred.

The “Offset” orphanage  …

Now the publishers, few of them, who have cracked upon a filthy formula of cheapest (cheap as per standard, not only price) publishing are no less than Printing Pimps. For them, meticulous proof editing with sound grammar are passe. Even Hinglish would add charm to the business. And the misleading tag of being “contemporary” is yet another marketing gimmick. Cheap & Best being the USP here, let the essentials be damned. As per them, churning out monotonic pieces doesn’t eats up their exclusivity either. Makes me reminisce the misdeeds of T-Series back then in 90s who’d pick up street and “baraati” singers for the performance in cover songs – nobody has done this much of damage to the music industry as they did. Indian Publishers are now following the same suit by picking up dirty debutant to their credit. They have the divine power (and courage) to print almost anything with no second thought to set themselves at new heights and standards. So when the whole world denies, they will rise to the occasion and will provide shelter to the laconic literary orphans by publishing their emotional pukes.

The barbarian benchmark of “bestseller” …

Have more than 5000 copies sold, and you have a national bestseller in your kitty. Utter nonsense which has got no value at all. The term “bestseller” here is itself misleading which may or may-not correspond to quality. A hit movie doesn’t necessarily mean if it was a good one. To me, TRPs & Bestsellers are white lies with a good taste.

The last flip …

With a conclusive gesture, I agree that not every one can make it to Booker & Pulitzer, but blatant effort is what all that’s missing here. Indeed, there are few good writers who have tried to write something out-of-the-box and breaking the mold, but the numbers of them still leaves me upset. Few might even argue that once the young minds graduate into mature readers, they would eventually pick senior and acclaimed authors. So is this how it should go about – begin with ill cooked starters ?

So what do we call it – Trashbook or Cheap-Lit ???


9 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with your analysis. Every now and then I get trapped by the nice cover and PR work and end up reading this thrash. This month there are couple of bad reviews coming up for the same reasons.

    But I think we can not classify this writing as literature, this is an industry that creates products to provide cheap thrills and hence sells. They are least concerned with the quality of work. My concern though is that the current generation is being fed on this and they think this is literature. Check out the comments on Chetan Bhagat’s review. People went to the extent of abusing me because they think I am too dumb to understand Bhagat.

    • What I personally feel is that our typical Indian audiences (Film, Music, Art, Literature etc.) have nurtured themselves for a Populist culture without developing and having their taste of own. Everyone-else-is-reading-it syndrome is perhaps what made Chetan Bhagat an instant hit (no offense meant). And I must admit to the fact that I left Five Point Someone in the middle, never read A Night At Callcentre, didn’t have any courage to read 3 Mistakes … to the full, 2 States has some prejudices struck with me and didn’t care for Revolution 2020 at all. Though I admire some of his newspaper columns. But with sudden spurt of his clones (even the supremacy of the Original aka Chetan is doubted), readers are being fed with the content of compromised taste. And worst still – they are stubborn enough to not to think beyond it.

      And my greatest predicament from the whole mess is that HINDI is succumbing somewhere. I’m yet to come across any Hindi Author from the same age group because of a pre-assumption that it is the business of Old Horses only and is highly UNCOOL.

  2. Although, by no means I am trying to speak on behalf of these “authors”, I would like to admit that I began reading with Chetan Bhagat’s novels but had the sense to move on to more established authors. Interestingly, after reading a number of good works of fiction, I decided to quit work and joined a master’s course in English. At present, I am a research scholar working in the area of Indo-Anglian fiction. It was nice to hear the echo of my thoughts via your words! Keep at it! You are doing a fantastic job! 🙂

  3. Hi!

    Really like your analysis. I had written on this a while ago on South Reports only to face a lot of criticism. Some of these writers spam your FB page with their Book quotes. It gets annoying after a while.

    Yes! I agree 100% with whatever you have written here. I have developed a distaste for all the Indian writers in the current generation. Worst is even young employees at MNCs enjoy these books.

    Many argue, some of them will step up to read better literature. Only time will tell.

    Thanks again! Tweeting this

    • Nivedita, this is something which I wrote more than a year ago. And the sad state is that – the ‘market’ has got even worse (never knew if I was a myopic fellow !). Now you have marketed sequels, PRs aggressively working for them, pre release hypes & heavily advertised novels. It has met the same fate as TV where TRP and glitz rules, not the show’s content. Now I’m better off with classics and few senior writers where content itself speaks.

      And thanks for echoing my sentiment !

  4. Sad that nothing has changed
    Sad that more and more “should not be allowed to write” kind of people are publishing
    Sad that literature is taking a beating like this….

    Pisses me off no end when newbie authors contact for reviews, but their work is terrible…. and am forced to grunt through the pages

  5. Hello Amit,

    Great post. When I see people around me who say they love reading, I get excited and ask them what they read. Most often I end up disappointed with Chetan Bhagat or other such writers. While it may be disheartening for us to read such books, there is a mass that probably hasn’t read anything but these sort of books. So what if they are only for compromised reading? I can’t bring myself to say it but shouldn’t they have the freedom to choose and read what they wish to? Jane Austen may sound stupid to them. It’s a relative world, isn’t it?

    But, whatever said and done, I still can’t bring myself to buy these cheap paperback books with this grammatically incorrect and lewd worded titles. I’m with you on that!

    Cheers!

    Hemalatha Venkatraman

    http://www.hemalathavenkatraman.blogspot.com/

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