Slandering Chetan Bhagat is one thing everyone loves to do. This act does not come out of merit. Criticising someone on facts is an ideal thing to do. Many do it. However, slandering someone without knowing the work is a job that tells how frustrated some people are!
I am not defending Chetan Bhagat. I am not defending his poor writings. I am not telling people should read him. This article intends to hold a mirror to those ready with daggers without knowing the hole to dig. Yes, Chetan Bhagat is a novelist who works on the same framework. However, have you read any of his works? Have you ever tried to discover why does he do so?
Traditional readers and book reviewers in India, in general, are always against anything that Chetan writes. They do have the right to do it. However, what is the reason behind Chetan Bhagat working on the same themes time and again? Many research scholars have tried to bring different aspects behind Chetan’s fictional craft. Some papers explore the wide range of social issues that the author fuses with local themes in his novels. Why do research scholars bother to work on an author whom the world belittles?
Chetan Bhagat rose to fame on the horizon of Indian English literature unexpectedly. While there may be debates on this phenomenon, no one can deny it happened. His novels are shallow, without literary richness, and one-time-read. However, if you get into the depths of the themes of Chetan’s novels, it will be a surprising discovery. This author has tried to portray the issues that the population of the time faces day in and day out. Relationships, love, friendship, job, frustration, dreams, heartbreak, break-up, hook-up, one-night stand, sex, movies, politics and governments – things that synchronise with the thoughts of today’s generation feature in the works of Chetan Bhagat. Traditional authors, conventional critics, and intelligent book reviewers may dislike these things. However, readers do love reading Bhagat’s novels. And that is why he is immensely successful today!
Yes, you can find faults in his style. He writes with an intention to keep his works bereaved of literary riches. He brings drops language to a level that we can call sordid. His novels are dry and singular. And there are other things that we can hold against the novelist. However, one has to substantiate these arguments with evidence. If you do that, you are a critic of repute. If you do that because others did so, you are not a critic in good faith!
We should not forget one more point about the novels of Chetan Bhagat. His writing style (simple, otherwise) has created the space for authors who write anything they like. Writers like Nikita Singh, Durjoy Datta, Ravinder Singh, and many others have followed the tracks made by Chetan Bhagat on his way to success. No one can deny it!
At last, before we tend to criticise someone, we should ideally look for all the possible ways to substantiate the criticism. Otherwise, we become a part of the gathering, knowing nothing about anything and pretending to know everything!
All the best!
by Alka for The Book Blog