Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peter Griffin on Chetan Bhagat

In Forbes India, Griffin has a great profile of Chetan Bhagat -- the man behind novels that sell and sell even as critics yell bloody murder.

Teller of Stories:

The literary establishment wasn’t impressed. Some reviews were savage. Many put his success down to smart marketing and pricing. Bhagat was bewildered. They were comparing his books to classics and finding them wanting. “Does it say on the cover: ‘this is a great book’? Do I say that on my Web site? Saying Chetan is no Tolstoy is like saying Infosys is no Google, so Infosys is a crap company. Why are they [the media] so high-handed? Newspapers that are sold for a two rupees, magazines that are sold at railway stations, read by ordinary people...” he trails off, takes a breath. “They’re not serving the country, they’re serving the country club.”

The criticism of his output evidently hurts, though he claims a thick skin. When 2 States was being edited, he says, he asked Rupa to put “the most anal liberal arts major to vet the copy.” He wanted to say to critics at large, “It’s not bad English! Just say you don’t like it! I got bigger pricks than you to work on it.”

He’s made a choice here as well. “People who love me will love me. Those who hate me, nothing I do will change their minds. Even an Obama has critics. Who the hell am I? I can please those who love me or try to convert those who hate me. But negativity brings my spirit down. So I chose to do the former.”

There's also an accompanying interview of Bhagat. FWIW, Giiffin's version of the writer is far better than Bhagat's own version.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Is Peter Griffin a pseudonym ?