Reading is quite different from other hobbies/forms of entertainment. It is not just an act of recreation but it also adds value to the readers' knowledge.
After reading Chetan Bhagat's latest novel Half Girlfriend, we feel either our perception of books is wrong, or Mr Bhagat needs to quit writing books. Also, his love for Bollywood and aspirations to work in the industry, have been clear ever since he wrote his first book -- Five Point Someone.
All of Chetan Bhagat's books --Five Point Someone, One Night At A Call Centre, Two States, The Three Mistakes of My Life, Revolution 2020 and Half A Girlfriend -- have been adapted in Bollywood, or are in the process of being adapted (Half A Girlfriend and Revolution 2020). And all have been box office hits, except for one, One Night At A Call Centre (Salman Khan-starrer Hello).
Also read: Educated girls don't date guys who don't speak English, says Chetan
Chetan Bhagat, hence certainly recognises the pulse of a large section of the Indian society. But he should not tar the art of literature. Here are four reasons why we think he does that:
Region stereotypes, gender stereotypes, class stereotypes, you name it and Chetan Bhagat has it in his book. A boy from a rural area in Bihar only has sex on his mind, his friends say things like "Make Bihar proud" to provoke him to force himself upon a girl and the girl is ever-suffering submissive rich kid. Just why? Yes, there are men and 'friends' who talk in such a manner but that has nothing to do with their place of origin or gender.
2. Too much of Bollywood
Some sections of our society apparently find resonance in what Chetan Bhagat writes -- the way his characters behave and talk. But it is just not literary. It might be entertaining (entertainment is different things to different people). When we study literature, we expect to learn something out of it. Bhagat's geniuses give us nothing. They just reaffirm the stereotypes our society strives to fight against.
3. Not the English you want to learn
Chetan Bhagat has often said he writes not to be a literary genius but to get people learn English. Not a good idea at all. Learning English from Patna's Pride English Learning Centre (where Chetan's protagonist Madhav aspires to learn English and where the teachers do not any better from the students) would be as good. Chetan claims to use the common man's language. Well, so did Premchand. But did the Hindi literary genius ever spoil the language he wrote in? Nope, sir. All he did was use colloquial language, not random abusive slangs to sound cool.
4. Chetan Bhagat
Enough said and argued, Chetan Bhagat is too much of showbiz for literature. You are anyways turning each of your book into a Bollywood film. The movie rights for the latest one was even sold before the launch of the book! So, you are doing pretty well there (blockbusters and all). Enjoy the fame, just do not spoil reading for people who love the written word otherwise.