Bestselling author Chetan Bhagat whose latest novel One Indian Girl has a female protagonist, feels that the time is “opportune” to hold discussions and create awareness about feminism.
“I’m lucky. I think it is a very opportune time. Feminism is an issue whose time has come. Ever since the Nirbhaya incident, the issue of women’s rights has taken the centre stage. People are wanting to understand these issues. Movies like ‘Pink’ and ‘Queen’ have done well. I think it is time to talk about these issues,” he told PTI.
According to the 42-year-old writer, a lot of confusion continues to prevail about feminism and the term has been largely misinterpreted and misused. “Now more understanding is needed so that there is no confusion around the word feminism. The image of a feminist is that of somebody who has a very rigid stand against men. It just means women should also have a chance to pursue their goals as equally men.”
“You can be a traditional girl, who wants her man to love her, her boyfriend to call her…and still be a feminist, you don’t have to be a different species,” he said.
The banker-turned-author who has already penned six fiction novels, has for the first time written from a female perspective, which he calls, “challenging.” “I had the idea seven years back but I didn’t have the courage then. Writing in the first person as a girl and on feminism is a challenging job and to do that one needs to have experience,” he says.
Bhagat’s One Indian Girl is a “bold” book about a young girl who has qualities that defy the notion of an ideal Indian girl – makes a lot of money and has an opinion on everything.
To draw the character of his protagonist Radhika Mehta, Bhagat says that he researched for a few months during which he met around hundred women to find out the kind of lives they led and how they balanced between work and home.
The author said that since his novels are read in small towns too, he has to be “sensitive.” “I have to give them something which they can relate to,” he said.
On his writing style remaining the same through seven books and 12 years, he says, “That, a writer can’t change. It’s like handwriting. If I write in a simple way, it is my style but it’s a great style because it works for millions of people. There may be a section who may think ‘it is too simple for me’. It is possible. But, I am not insecure with my readership. So, now I can experiment with my writing. This book (One Indian Girl) is an experiment,” he said.
Bhagat’s last book, Half-Girlfriend is being adapted into a film of the same name starring Bollywood actors Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor.
His earlier works Five Point Someone, One Night @ the Call Center, The 3 Mistakes of My Life and 2 States: The Story of My Marriage have all been previously adapted for Bollywood.