Anil Mohan, 44, is the youngest of the celebrated trinity of Hindi pulp fiction. And he is proud to be in the top club. “The Hindi pulp fiction industry is today being run by Pathak, Sharma and Mohan,” he says with pride, before adding quickly: “But the other two are much ahead of me in name and fame.”
The youngest one also happens to be the most prolific of the three, publishing 8-10 novels a year. He sets a target and a deadline every morning, and then tries to keep to it. “I must write these many novels to survive. There is a constant pressure from the market,” says Mohan. This speed has begotten 180 titles over 19 years.
Mohan’s first book, Anokhi Dulhan, sold 12,000 copies. These days each of his titles sells 50,000 copies on an average. That could be one reason for the pressure of churning out so many titles every year — more than the other two lords of Hindi pulp, who sell lakhs every time they publish.
Mohan, a devoted fan of English pulp’s overlord James Hadley Chase, doesn’t hide his contempt for the so-called ‘literary writers’. “If they sell 2,000 copies they call it a bestseller. They write what no one reads, and then they complain there’s no money.”
Though this resident of Delhi’s Vikaspuri is a celebrity in small-town India, he says it’s “difficult to explain to neighbours and relatives that I earn my living from writing. So, I generally do not tell people that I write Hindi pulp”. Does his family read his works? “Not really. My son reads English novels,” he says, with his face downcast.