The recipient of the 2013 Youth Achiever’s Award, Sudeep Nagarkar is an inspiration for all the young writers out there. His book ‘It started with a friend request’ was the most popular fiction book of 2013, according to Amazon India.
Excerpts from the interview:
What made you quit your management job and choose writing?
“I was not actually enjoying whatever I was doing. It was a very monotonous and boring kind of a job. By the time I started doing my job I realized writing is my passion and even if I’m writing a whole day or more than 15 or 16 hours a day I never realized that I’m writing at a stretch but whenever I used to work that long it gave me stress. Writing after doing engineering, management and then a job is not an easy thing. Also, convincing an Indian parent is extremely difficult because there are a lot of issues that come in picture. But the important thing is if you believe in yourself it will happen and the best part was that I never had a choice because most of the young writers I see these days, they love writing, they want to write and they publish one novel but at the same time they are involved in some other activity but for me it was writing and only writing”
Your book –“You’re the password to my life” disapproves the statement- ‘a girl and a boy cannot be good friends’.
“From childhood, we have been brought up saying this thing. When we were in school boys were not allowed to sit with girls and if I used to talk to girls there were friends commenting about being in a relationship with that girl. These barriers have been built up in our mind from the childhood days only. Then there are movies which show the same thing like Karan Johar in Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani showed that the great friendship was changed to love. But I know it is always not like this-‘Har ladke ko har ladki se pyaar thodi hota hai” I am good friends with girls for more than a decade and never ever I got a feeling that I love this girl or I am falling for her. When a girl and a boy are friends it is a very transparent relation where they can share a lot of things, understand each other’s mind and there are many positive things that come.”
A lot of Bollywood movies have been made based on novels, has Bollywood gone short of stories?
“Probably yes, earlier people did not focus much on storytelling, it was more about the star cast but now things are not the same. The audience is getting smarter and they are choosing which movie to watch wisely, that is why storytelling is equally important. And you cannot say that every Shahrukh khan and Salman Khan Movie will be a blockbuster, that is not going to happen, a good story is required. Also, earlier the prices of the ticket were low but now they are very high so they need a good story and if it is coming out of a novel then there is no harm. But my only concern is that they shouldn’t mould the novel so much that the original charm of the novel goes away because that is what happens generally”.
Don’t you think that in current era the way people have pictured romance has changed? Is it less about love and more about lust?
“No, I don’t think so. The definition of romance is still the same, even in the social media world. It has same emotions and feelings but the way of expressing it is different like one doesn’t write love letters these days instead chose social media network like Whatsapp, Facebook etc.
Today we have lot of stress we want to run away from and want to connect more, social media plays an important part in it and such type of feelings can come in mind but the main essence of love is still the same”
Don’t you think the name of all your novels form a story of their own when aligned together?
“Luckily they can but generally what I do is that whenever I decide a title I keep in mind that it should be very friendly, something one can relate to very clearly like earlier also there where friend requests, requesting a person to become a friend and connecting one on one but now a day’s social media is helping us to connect through friend requests in a different way. I keep all these things in mind when I’m deciding the title but at the same time it should match with the stories”
Do you think that these days romance based novels have more sales?
“It has happened since ancient days. It is not something that is happening currently, whether you see movies or books there were epic love stories. Every genre has their own stake and now that more youngsters are reading obviously they are attracted to love stories. But with love stories, it’s that you know what is going to happen at the end, that the boy and the girl are going to meet but it is more about the emotion, the storytelling, more about the flow and how well you connect with the character. But it is not that every love story is working these days only the good story is.”
Your say on incorporating Chetan Bhagat’s novel ‘Five Point someone’ by Delhi university as part of their course in popular fiction
“There are many people saying positive about it and many people are saying negative about it, but when it comes to Chetan Bhagat there are different opinion always. I don’t understand why there is so much of hate about him because if someone has taken that decision to include ‘five point, someone,‘ then it is not a random decision that it came out of blues and then suddenly one fine day someone got up and made the decision. You cannot deny the fact that it was the first book that changed the entire publishing industry. When I got to know about, talking from the marketing point of view and from the story point of view there was never a fiction novel than can sell so much and even a small boy sitting in a small town of Patna can read English books. In 2004 and 2005 when he started it no one thought that we can sell so much and even in small cities we can read these books but it happened. Earlier no random house use to publish but now because of these few books publishing came to India.”
Which author inspires you the most?
“There are many authors who inspire me but currently I’m fond of ‘Jhumpa Lahiri’s’ book. Recently I read ‘The Lowland’ it was very emotional and very connectable that I really loved it.”
The MagZone provides a platform to budding writers, what is your message for enthusiastic writers like us?
“You should have a very good story to tell. It’s not about what language you are using or the vocabulary or how are you narrating it, instead the only thing that you should have is a good story. If you have that you should start writing and be extremely patient because it is not easy to complete a 60,000 words novel. Forget about getting it published, forget about being a bestseller and all those things which are the later stages. Your main focus should be writing the story and being patient and honest with it.”
Sudeep Nagarkar and his novels have pictured a story for us where things may look bad at the start but later on with passing time, determination and dedication everything has a happy ending and every situation has something to teach us.
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