Are men on the same page as women in matters of love?
The question might be open for debate, but male writers in the country are way ahead of women when it comes to penning rollicking romance fiction. These lovey-dovey boys dominate the country’s pulp romance fiction market, with their books notching up sales figures of 30,000 to 1 lakh easily.
Ravinder Singh, Durjoy Datta, Sudeep Nagarkar, Novoneel Chakraborty, Faraaz Kazi, Rochak Bhatnagar, Anuj Tiwari, Vineet K Bansal, Aakash Verma — the list of India’s new age romance writers has been growing fast. In fact, Delhi-based Rochak Bhatnagar, 23, published his first book, ‘Love Happens Only Once’, when he was only 19.
“Your teenage is the time when you first experience love. My books tried to capture the complexities of teenage love in a language that teens can relate to,” says Bhatnagar.
Most of these writers admit that they draw heavily from their lives and those of friends and colleagues.
Mumbai-based Sudeep Nagarkar, who has five romance novels to his credit, says that all his writings are based on real life stories. His latest offering, ‘You are the Password to My Life’, released in December 2014, has been on several best seller charts ever since.
Unlike a few years ago, these young writers are no longer writing just campus novels, and the titles of their books can give Nicholas Sparks a run for his money.
“I finish writing my book in 30 days flat. But I spend more time thinking about the title. The title and the cover design can make or break a book,” says Nagarkar, who, like many of these young writers, has given up his cushy job to pursue writing full time.
To deal with the problem of coming up with new stories, many of these romance writers have taken to writing sequels, which they say are in great demand from inquisitive readers who often want to know what happened to the characters in the book.
Harsh Snehanshu, an IIT Delhi graduate, wrote his debut novel, “Oops! ‘I’ fell in love!” in 2009. His second book “Ouch! That ‘hearts’...” came out in 2011. The last part of the trilogy, “She is single, I’m taken”, was published in 2012.
Faraaz Kazi, the author of bestselling ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’, last week released ‘LOVE: Lots of Volatile Emotions’, an anthology of love stories in the capital.
His first book, ‘Truly, Madly Deeply’, was nominated in seven categories of the Goodreads Annual Choice awards, apart from being the first Indian novel to win the ‘Best Debut’ in the romance category at the same awards.
Ask these young writers if men are emotionally capable of writing about matters of heart and they unanimously agree.
“Men are as romantic and emotional as women; it is just that they do not display their emotions openly,” says Kazi.
In India men are more romantic than women. Unlike in the west, women are more practical in India,which is why most women writers in the west are women,” said 25-year-old Anuj Tiwari, author of ‘It Had to Be You’.
But Durjoy Datta has a slightly different take. He feels that male writers are doing better than their female counterparts in India because women tend to connect only with women readers.
And Datta has had experience of collaborating with his female counterparts to write as many as four romance novels. “A lot of these youngsters feel that writing romantic book can be a shortcut to money and fame. A lot of them are driven more by market considerations than a passion for writing,” he says. Datta adds that for many authors, their books are a way of acquiring female fan following. Kazi believes that the market for romance will never stagnate. “We are all suckers for emotions,” he says. firstname.lastname@example.org