Durjoy Datta is only 28 years old and is already considered one of the best-selling authors in the country. However, Datta doesn't stop at just writing books. He has also written the scripts of two television shows, Sadda Haq and Veera, which are successfully running on Indian television. Dutta, who was in Kolkata to launch his 11th novel, World's Best Boyfriend, spoke to us on his new book, his style of writing and more.

    This is your 11th novel. Why did you choose this title? 
    (Laughs). The story was about a couple, who should not be together but are together. I was constantly confused between world's worst boyfriend and world's best boyfriend because it could have been both ways. I had initially titled it World's Worst Boyfriend but someone in the editorial pointed out that it would have been too negative. So, I said let's give a title that has both the words. Later, I replaced worst with best, to make it sound more dramatic (smiles).

    You have been consistently coming up with novels since your first book. Is there a constant pressure of coming up with new ideas that will strike a chord with the readers?
    (Pauses). There's a pressure to tell a new story every time. There's no pressure as such when it comes to connecting with people. But then it's important for me to write a book that is not a reflection of my earlier books. That's something, which I had done for my first three books as I was getting into a comfort zone. My stories revolved around the lives of the same people. People still keep asking me when the next Deb and Avantika book will come out. I can write three more books about them but it's not going to be new to me. I am glad that I moved out of my comfort zone.

    What's special about your latest book?
    I have always portrayed all the characters in my earlier works as extraordinarily good looking. I wanted to move away from that. A lot of writers, including me have made this mistake of describing a person by how they look and what they are. I wanted to make that conscious change of not judging people by their looks. I have been at the receiving end and I have had some really mean nicknames as I used to be the heaviest and darkest in my class. I wanted to change that approach through this book.

    You were a good student and were studying engineering. What made you choose writing as a profession?
    (Cuts in) I started writing a blog in 2006. I used to bully a lot of people into reading my works and they eventually started liking it. Then, they started asking me to give writing books a serious thought. Initially, I never felt that my works would get published because during those days getting a publisher meant you had to be one of 'these writers' (Laughs out loud). Eventually, my book was published and I was very happy. However, I never stopped being a nerd. I was always into engineering and clearing entrance exams. I knew I had to get a job. It was only after I was sure that I didn't want to pursue a career in engineering, did I think of taking up writing as a full-time profession.

    You have been writing for about eight years now. Do you think one has to reach a certain age before being recognised as a good writer?
    Oh my god, eight years (laughs)? I don't think there is any age to be a good writer but I think my work got published way early. All the good writers get published in their thirties. In my case, I am writing as well as reading all the time, which means I do not have the requisite training to churn out books that are as good as the other 30-year-old writers, who are probably writing their first book now. So, in that sense, I am behind them. Every time I see a new writer, I check out their age first and when did they write their first book? (Breaks into a laugh)

    How do you react to criticism when it comes to your style of writing?
    I really don't count those remarks where I am portrayed as a person who writes grammatically incorrect English because I don't. The only thing that I feel writers like us lack is delivering a particular message in those many words. As a writer, I feel I lack the ability to portray an emotion in less than two sentences. So, I take a paragraph to convey it.

    Given that your books are doing well, was there a need to write for television?
    People kept telling me that I was writing my books too fast and I should slow down. (laughs out loud) Just kidding! There were a lot of people who wanted me to write for television. I could relate to the stories and thought of giving it a try.

    Any Bollywood projects up your sleeve?
    Bollywood is a very slow industry! It's not slow because the producers are slow. It's slow because of the writers.

    What next?
    My next book is again a love story (smiles). I am yet to come up with a title.

'Modi factor' forces Mulayam to change tone

  • Vikas Pathak, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Jul 19, 2013 10:13 IST

Regret for the killing of Muslims in the 2002 Gujarat riots was expected from Narendra Modi, but it was Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav who eventually expressed regret two days back for the firing on Hindu Kar Sevaks at Ayodhya in 1990.

Incidentally, this event had earned him the respect of most Muslims and the wrath of many Hindus in those days of polarisation in UP.

And, known as the most "pro-Muslim" voice in his party, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh wrote a blog post two days back, titled "Am I anti-Hindu?" Singh took pains to emphasise that Sanatana Dharm (Hinduism) was different from "divisive" Hindutva espoused by the Sangh.

While Yadav told the media that the decision to order firing was "painful" but he had no other option, Singh asserted he was a practising Hindu, but was victim of RSS propaganda that he was "anti-Hindu".

Clearly, there is an attempt on the part of the two mainstream politicians seen as politically very "pro-Muslim" to reach out to Hindus at a time when Modi has embarked on a campaign hurling what many see as oblique insults on the Muslim community.

"I am a practicing Hindu. I was given Diksha by His Holiness Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Dwarka and Joshi Math in 1983.I regularly pray every day for half an hour... I have nine temples at my residence at Raghogarh," Singh wrote.

Modi is clearly attempting to polarise the electorate between Hindus - generally a very scattered vote - and Muslims, who would want Modi defeated. The strategy - it seems - is aimed at UP and Bihar, very crucial to the BJP's Lok Sabha prospects as they account for 120 seats.

Observers see these statements as meaning that secular parties don't want to risk Modi painting them as "anti-Hindu".

Muslims are anyway going to vote to defeat him: what the SP and Congress don't want is some Hindus turning towards Modi across established caste vote banks. Though there is no "Hindu vote", the sheer majority numbers can enable even a small shift to affect results. 

In UP and Bihar, where Hindus vote as per caste, polarisation can somewhat dent established patterns.

"All other parties are now talking the same language and Modi alone is different. This can attract some Hindu votes and also confuse Muslim votes, as they have to tactically choose seat-wise from many options like the Congress, SP, RJD and JD(U)," a UP academic not wanting to be named said.

 

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