No scriptwriting for Bollywood: Chetan Bhagat (Interview)

October 8th, 2011 - 9:42 am ICT by IANS  

Chetan Bhagat New Delhi, Oct 8 (IANS) His books have invariably found a visual spin in Bollywood, but writer Chetan Bhagat, whose latest work “Revolution 2020″ has just hit the stands, says he isn’t game to sit and script a film.

The corporate executive-turned-author, who admits he has imbibed a lot from the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, reasons he would rather continue the magic of words with good old books.

“I am quite busy with my books, man! I don’t mind scripting, but my books are, in any case, being turned to film scripts. There are a lot of people who can write scripts, but very few who can do that as books…so I would like to be in my space of being a book writer,” Bhagat, 37, told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

“Besides, in today’s world of smartphones and apps, and what not, I think it is important to retain the charm of books. There are people who want to read and I want to keep that urge in them alive,” he added.

So far, two films have been inspired by his books.

His first novel, “Five Point Someone”, about the college life of three engineering students, went on to become the 2009 blockbuster “3 Idiots”, while his “One Night @ the Call Center”, around a group of six call centre employees, was made into “Hello”. It released in 2008 to a mixed response.

His other two books - “The 3 Mistakes of My Life” and “2 States: The Story of My Marriage” are also set to be converted into movies.

The former has found the fancy of “Rock On!!” director Abhishek Kapoor and, about the latter, he said: “I don’t know…I guess Sajid Nadiadwala is taking it forward seriously. I have been told ‘Two States’ has a lot of potential for a movie…so let’s wait and watch.”

Bhagat is hoping “Revolution 2020″, which takes a look at corruption in the non-elite institutes in the Indian education sector with a love story in the backdrop, will also find its way to the big screen. It came out in the market Friday.

“I think ‘Revolution 2020′ will interest filmmakers as it is topical. I’m quite sure it will have takers from Bollywood,” he said.

The IIT graduate’s popularity has grown manifold over the years thanks to his books and also the films made on them. In fact, the lead characters of David Dhawan’s recently released comedy film “Rascals” were named Chetan (played by Sanjay Dutt) and Bhagat (Ajay Devgn) respectively.

Bhagat says he felt “flattered”.

“It was honestly quite amusing. I am an English language author, after all…and to find a place in any way in a mass market movie like ‘Rascals’, which would reach so many people, is fascinating. An English author getting such popularity in India was unheard of some years back, but really, it is fascinating and very flattering,” said the writer, who is deeply saddened by the death of Steve Jobs Wednesday.

Bhagat says there’s a lot that he took from Jobs’ way of working.

“He always tried to make people happy, he believed in simplicity and originality, and he never went overboard with advertising…it was mostly word-of-mouth publicity, which worked for him.

“Similarly, I care a lot for my readers, I write simple books and I don’t advertise my work loudly. I don’t need to…my books have a big buzz around them already. I imbibed these things from him, and I will continue being like this,” he said.

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)

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