NL Interview: Chetan Bhagat on One Arranged Murder, his approach to trolling, and the problem with mindless content

‘Times are changing. One must change with the times and give people surprises as much as possible.’

ByNL Team
NL Interview: Chetan Bhagat on One Arranged Murder, his approach to trolling, and the problem with mindless content
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Chetan Bhagat is a best-selling author and columnist. In this interview with Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, he discusses his new book One Arranged Murder, his journey as a Delhi boy, and the latest controversies in India today.

Starting off, Chetan explains that One Arranged Murder is a murder mystery set in Delhi. When asked about his transition from coming-of-age romance to two murder mysteries back to back, Chetan says he owes it to his “personal evolution and a widening creative canvas”. Through suspense, he says, he believes he can gauge interest. On the book’s subtexts, he says, “I like to give an undercurrent of what is happening in the country.”

Abhinandan and Chetan talk about the Tanishq ad, and how Chetan was trolled by right-wing handles for one of his tweets on the issue. Chetan says he was presented as “someone against Hindus”. On various flaws of the government and its ministers, Chetan says, “The problem is, if we keep finding someone to blame like Modi or Amit Shah, it’s not very different from passing the buck.”

About the BJP, he says, “Yes, you can put some blame on them...And even this section votes for them, and it takes a very rare leader to stand up to its base. Very rare.”

Chetan believes that mindless content on mobile phones can numb the brain. “Your emotional brain remains as it is, but your cognitive brain stops getting used,” he says. “So, the entire generation is becoming like this, where they react emotionally.” He relates this to the media coverage of the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Abhinandan and Chetan also discuss the international reception of Indian books and the role of the media in promoting his work. Talent is overrated, he says, and it’s the grind that matters.


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