Author Bhaskar Chattopadhyay: It is impossible to make a living by just writing in India
He says most authors in the country have day jobs and are writers by night, it’s the way to float financially.books Updated: Oct 04, 2018 14:18 IST
Being in the profession of writing in our country is not an easy job, according to author Bhaskar Chattopadhyay. He says that almost every author has to take up some other work besides writing books to sustain a living. He says that this applies to him as well — besides penning books, he writes film reviews and columns.
“It is impossible,” Bhaskar says when asked if authors can survive on writing books alone. “If you talk to authors, nine out of 10 will tell you the same thing. It is virtually impossible for someone to make a living by writing books alone. It is so difficult. I realised this very quickly,” says the author of books such as Here Falls the Shadow, Penumbra, and Patang.
So, how do authors manage? “Well, some have day jobs and are writers by night. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to wear two hats. I wanted to make money out of writing. I love movies and started writing about them, including film reviews, essays on films, and columns. I was very surprised to find that they pay very well,” shares Bhaskar, who is happy to combine his creativity with his passion for writing and cinema.
However, writing wasn’t what Bhaskar started his professional life with. Part of the high-paying corporate world, he could never really connect to that life. He found it stifling and realised that he was not cut out for such a job. After a decade, he finally decided to bid adieu to that life in pursuit of his life-long dream of being a writer.
Since then, Bhaskar has penned novels, short stories, translated the works of several Bengali writers such as Rabindranath Tagore, Hasan Azizul Haque, Rajshekhar Basu, Premendra Mitra, Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay, Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury, Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyay, Narendra Nath Mitra, among others. He has also novelised Satyajit Ray’s legendary 1966 film, Nayak.
When you read Bhaskar’s works, there is one unmissable aspect — his writing style is smooth and he does not bombard readers with complex words.
I’ve grown up on a staple diet of Satyajit Ray, Agatha Christie, O Henry, and Jim Corbett. All these authors are easy to read. My writing is a derivative of that.
“I’ve grown up on a staple diet of Satyajit Ray, Agatha Christie, O Henry, and Jim Corbett. All these authors are easy to read. My writing is a derivative of that. The other reason is that I don’t know complex words and can’t use them even if I wanted to. Moreover, I want everyone to enjoy my books,” he explains.
His latest book, The Disappearance of Sally Sequeira, is the third part of the detective Janardan Maity series, set in a fictitious fishing village in Goa. “I wanted to have a series but I was afraid about the response from the readers. But I’m glad that people have responded well. I have already started the fourth and have an idea for the fifth,” he says.
Several literary sleuths have made it to the screen. Any chance of Maity joining that league? “Why not? I think it’ll make for good films, episodic content, etc. But it is not in my hands,” he says.
First Published: Oct 04, 2018 14:18 IST