In October first week, Rupa Publications launched two fiction books- Chetan Bhagat’s ‘One Indian Girl’ and Sumit Agarwal’s ‘The Four Patriots’. Interestingly, both these books are hitting the right notes at the right time; clearly winning the sentiments of Indian readers. No doubt Rupa is called ‘The House of Bestsellers’!
One Indian Girl & The Four Patriots : Points of Parity and Difference
Both the books are contemporary fiction. While ‘One Indian Girl’ is like the other fiction works of Chetan Bhagat involving romance and youth, ‘The Four Patriots’ has elements of patriotism, politics and thriller.
2. Based on issues in Indian Society
Both the books address issues prevalent in the Indian society.
One Indian Girl is clearly based on women empowerment and feminism – topics on tip of tongue. The recent movie ‘PINK’, supporting an altogether different theme of feminism, brought Indian women in picture and this worked for Chetan Bhagat. ‘One Indian Girl’ had record breaking pre-orders of 2 Lakh copies by 20th September, 11 days before official launch of the book!
The Four Patriots is based on four individuals dissatisfied with the system, who set on a journey to change things and bring back glory to the nation. Clearly based on patriotism, it has elements of Terrorism, poor performance in Olympics, Caste-based reservations, water issues between states, thereby clearly taking public sentiments hands on. The recent Uri attacks, surgical strikes and approach with Pakistan is icing on the cake for Sumit.
3. Chetan Bhagat & Sumit Agarwal
While Chetan Bhagat is a brand in himself, a youth icon; Sumit Agarwal is a first time writer. Just like Chetan Bhagat, Sumit is also an IITian getting into writing. (Seems like IITians don’t want to be just engineers!) Chetan is an investment banker, a columnist, screenplay writer, speaker and motivator and has been judge in shows like Nach Baliye (weird!). Sumit Agarwal is a director of a chemical business, singer and runs NGOs in Kanpur. They belong to same age group.
4. Keep it simple silly!
Simple English – Chetan Bhagat’s signature. Sumit Agarwal’s book follows the same. Simple and Lucid. Easy and written for all.
5. Heroes & Villains
Every story has heroes and villains. In ‘One Indian Girl’, there is a heroine – Radhika. ( Rahul Gandhi will be happy with Chetan Bhagat empowering a woman!) And the boyfriends, mother, aunts … the society are villains! Chetan Bhagat has portrayed mother of Radhika as orthodox, thinking always of what people will say.
‘The Four Patriots’ has four lead characters suffering at the hands of the system. Patriotism totally ingrained in these guys, they went on to fight elections and become ministers of the country. But when it’s politics, there will be all sorts of villains. Corrupt politicians, scamsters, anti-nationals, terrorists and naxals. Relatable to the real life political-national scenario.. isn’t it?
6. Sex and No Sex!
Chetan Bhagat is known for his marketing gimmicks. One Indian Girl got trending for Page No. 57. Guess what Chetan must have placed. Sex! Like he does it in all his books. Explicit sex. Even when it is not required to show to the extent. Neither it is some E.L.James work nor it is the core theme of the book. He knows well how to attract the Indian non-readers. Thankfully, he’s got no Pahlaj Nihlani for books!
Sumit Agarwal has garnished patriotism with romance and love. No sex. There are moments in ‘The Four Patriots’ but he maintains the sanctity of the book’s theme.
7. Marketing Gimmicks
Ask authors and they say, ‘Writing is easy, Marketing is tough!’ Authors these days try innovative ideas to promote their books.
Apart from Press releases, grand book launches, video teasers and contests, Chetan Bhagat went to Arnub with a U! The team at TVF and Bhagat went on to humiliating Chetan Bhagat and his works. Arnub literally spits on his book! Chetan shows his waxed leg to promote his research on feminism for ‘One Indian Girl’. And if that was low, he also agrees to show his stupid dancing clip on Nach Baliye stage. Lows of negative publicity! And not to forget how he promised sex in the teaser itself!
Negative promotion of One Indian Girl with TVF, Arnub
Sumit Agarwal went on to develop a 5 minute trailer of the book ‘The Four Patriots’, using actors to create a Bollywood style fast-paced drama. He composed theme song titled ‘Four Patriots hai hum’. He even created 14 episode series of ‘Kya aap Deshbhakt kehlane e layak hai?’ 10 sec ads to promote the theme of his book.
14 episode series of ‘Kya aap Deshbhakt hai?’ for The Four Patriots
8. Soon to be a major motion picture
Both the books are written such that they can be converted to Bollywood movies. Chetan Bhagat has a series of books converted to motion pictures. No surprise if One Indian Girl finds its way to a big Bollywood banner.
Sumit Agarwal stated on the launch of ‘The Four Patriots’ that few Bollywood houses are looking forward to convert it to a movie script. Interestingly, there were two directors present at the launch – Vivek Agnihotri and Jaideep Sen. In fact, Jaideep Sen gave his nod to the fact that he is looking forward to convert it to a movie script. Although Sumit Agarwal hasn’t decided yet.
However, Sumit Agarwal has a long way to go. Chetan Bhagat is the most loved and hated Indian author simultaneously. It has taken books, controversies and what not to become what he is today. A good book is just not enough!