Chetan Bhagat is back with his new book and has taken an unfamiliar route this time to reach out to his readers. For the first time in 12 years since his first book, he has had the courage to attempt the “scary” thing of writing in a woman’s voice.
In an exclusive conversation with the IndianExpress.com, Bhagat shared his views on feminism, his journey while writing the book, ‘One Indian Girl’ and what he views about the criticisms concerning it.
WATCH VIDEO: Being Chetan Bhagat
Bhagat feels a writer should have their own freedom about writing, and not the short-coming critics feel his book contains. “I get to tell the story, I want to tell. I can’t be told what story to write, what characters to be,” the author said.
Agreeing that the venture has been widely different, but also that he stuck to a familiar setting. “Radhika is an investment banker, similar to what I did. She lives in New York, Bangkok, places where I have lived.” He highlights the main difficulty was to figure out what “average Indian women go through in their lives”. He believes that his protagonist for the book is a “practical feminist and not a feminist Nazi”.
The author reveals he spoke to around hundred women and came to know about “their deepest thoughts, inside problems, confusions, contradictions in life.”
On enquiring what feminism is to him, he says, “Feminism to me is a woman getting an equal right to pursue her happiness. That depends on context, region, what average Indian women want.” He points out that what feminism in the US could mean would be different from what it would be in a small village in our country.
The author believes that he has tried to hold a “mirror to the society” and those who have criticised him for his views on women, don’t get “what real feminism is”.
On his own association with the book, the author gladly says, “People who know me well have said, If you were a girl, this would be you.”
Have you read ‘One Indian Girl’? What do you feel about Bhagat new venture, let us know in comments below.