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Saying Hello to Chetan Bhagat

Priya Rajendran catches up with the author as he speaks about his book One Night @... adapted into the Bollywood film Hello.

books Updated: Aug 07, 2008 13:14 IST
Priya Rajendran
Priya Rajendran
Hindustan Times
A Hello to Chetan Bhagat

Priya Rajendran catches up with author Chetan Bhagat in a telephonic chat as he speaks about his book being adapted into the movie Hello...

Your book has been adapted into a Bollywood masala movie...How are you feeling now?
I am quite excited as Atul has roped in the biggest Bollywood stars. Salman is playing my character. What more could I have asked for? I am really happy with the treatment given to the film.

I am sure you are on Cloud Nine now...
I have been extremely happy and excited right from the day I came to know that my book will be adapted into a movie. I was quite surprised when Atul (Director) approached me for the movie script. I agreed when he told me how the theme would be incorporated into the movie. I have been a storyteller and have been quite focused before and after I wrote this book. And, I do not get carried off too.

We heard that you had set some conditions to make this movie...
Yeah, you heard it right. I kept three conditions in front of Atul. First that there should be a Punjabi song, Salman Khan had to take his shirt off and of course, the last one: making the movie more fun! <b1>

The director would have flipped...
(Laughs) Yeah, the movie makers were quite shocked at the three conditions as they were set by an author whom they probably thought of as conventional and who would not think of making a masala movie from his own book!

Hello has added a feather to your cap...
Hmmm, yes you can say that. I'll probably be recognised better.

Its a benchmark movie made from a popular book...
It is literature coming to life. Yeah the biggest attraction of this movie is that it will capture a wider audience. When you have stars like Salman, Katrina, Sharman Joshi, Isha Koppikkar, Amrita Arora, Sohail Khan playing the characters in the book, it means more publicity for my story too. Though, I am nervous before the movie's release!

During the making of the movie...
It was fun working with Atul. Both of us worked together for two years on the film. The film is not too dark like the book! Our main aim was not to compete with the book. However, there are no unrealistic songs in it. It is set in a disco and there's a separate background for the movie to make it a bit different from the book.

Idea behind writing One Night @ ...
I believe there's a supernatural force driving all of us and I wanted to just portray that. It has been always been naturally inside me. I have had lots of voices speaking inside me. But, two points struck me while writing it: First, it had to be in one night and second, the most bizarre call had to be from God!

The theme of all your books is youth...any special reasons?
My main aim has always been to entertain and be an inspiring force for the youth. After all, life's tough and competition very high and youth do need a guiding light. Since I have gone through this during my IIT days (in Five Point Someone), my stories reflect the same. Moreover, I connect well with the youth!

Has Commercial Fiction made its inroads into India?
Commercial fiction has always been there. It's just that we need better stories and good writers for Bollywood. The concept was started in the West long ago, though.

Has this trend changed in the last few years...
I think filmmakers these days are open to doing different and non-conventional movies. Now even Indian audiences are changing their tastes. They no longer want to see hero-heroines running and dancing around trees. They also go to watch the movie with the sole purpose of seeing something different.

Your blog has also become popular...
I get nearly 500 responses on it daily. It is overwhelming for me to see that so many people place their faith in me.

Your experiences as a writer till now...
Its been good all along. I have always written stories about suffering in society or whatever has tormented me in my life.

Chetan as philospher/writer/?
(Laughs) A 'mismanaged' father of twins as I hardly get time to spend with them. At the end of the day, I am a family-man - through and through!