If you’re reading this, then the title probably intrigued you. To avoid disappointment, let me break it to you already; this is not one of those posts which will ‘reveal’ how much money Chetan Bhagat really makes. For the others who chose to pass this post, sure may have thought, “What’s new? He’s on the headlines practically every day now!”
Well, what I’m about to say is what a “good” marketer wouldn’t (given I’m the writer of this post); they’re not wrong! There’s probably nothing refreshing left to learn or know about the 42-year-old author.
But a thought has stayed with me for days, that today I finally decided to share every bit of it with you in this space. Read on to know what I mean when I say, “You may hate Chetan Bhagat, but the big bucks love him.”
Books have a special place in my heart, they’ve always opened a new landscape to me based on the tale it tells and the direction in which my imagination decides to flow. Now I look back in time to when the reader in me was born, I’m no exception from the commercial Indian lot, my first book at the age of 12 was a Chetan Bhagat novel. (Yes, I started reading rather late.)
Five Point Someone the cover read, and impressive as it sounds for a first-time reader I finished reading the book overnight. This wasn’t because I skipped pages or I was a quick reader (FYI again, this was my first shot at reading), the book was clearly a page turner! Yes, perhaps the story was extremely appealing back then because this was my debut exposure to a fiction book, but his first-hand experiences from IIT just made the descriptions interesting and imaginable for a novice reader for me back then.
With time as I grew into an avid reader, I did understand what good literature really meant but I still revisited Chetan Bhagat’s writings with Three Mistakes Of My Life and 2 States, this time the fairly matured reader in me could tell why he wasn’t the best writer ever, but as I grew older I started to understand why his books sell at the rate of vada pavs outside a railway station. (I will never stop making Bomabyistic references, ever!)
He once claimed on a show that he’s proud of his work because the simplistic language allows even a taxi walla (cab driver) to read his work and feel good about reading an ‘English’ book. Although I’m not sure how many cabbies really read his book, but he had a valid point to make! His entry in bookshelves led many people to call themselves ‘readers’ and if it was for his books that got them started on reading, it’s not such a bad thing, right?
It was when he published his books that many closet writers dared to step out and publish their work. His simpleton and unimpressive way of words against a literature enthusiasts gave many of them the courage to go ahead and publish, because they all thought, “If Chetan Bhagat’s work can create a boom, we’re certainly good enough to at least publish”
He’s published 7 books, 4 of which have translated into films and the fifth one is already in the making! Just in case you didn’t already know, alongside publishing books, he’s also been moonlighting as a screenwriter, columnist, and a host. He even judged two reality TV shows (I never understood why) and is currently producing Half Girlfriend( an adaptation of his book).
Other than the fact that it’s too many hats to wear for an individual, it clearly shows that Bhagat if not the best writer is certainly a wise entrepreneur. Not many writers gain the popularity he enjoys. Under the rug of controversy or being pseudo-intellectual at times even, he’s always managed to stay in the news.
Given the numerous arguments he’s raised and the content he’s generated over the years for being him, I could write till he translates his 1000th book into a movie; but with that brief overview of his entrepreneurial side, I’m gonna end this post here by saying that you may hate Chetan Bhagat but the big bucks love him.
P.S: Accoding to his Wikipedia page, The New York Times cited Bhagat as “the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history.” And the Time magazine named him as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. You see what commercial writing and sense of marketing can do? Until next time, #StayCurious.