From Romance to Mystery: The Journey of Chetan Bhagat

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Love him or hate him. Surely one cannot ignore him!  Criticized by the ‘elite readers’ and loved by the casual readers, Chetan Bhagat is the first author that every reader wants to pick up who wants to inculcate the reading habit. Since 2004, his books have given a paradigm shift in Indian reading, and it is not exaggerating to say that his books produced many young readers and new-age authors.  

The coffee-table books are his books because of the easy and simple language, engaging narrations, and straight stories. There is also a set of people in the society who judge the readers if they read his books. Barring all the criticism and the not-so-favorable comments, he is still the most followed and read author!

His books have simple stories. The conversations are straightforward, and the characters are easy-going. But what is to be also taken into account is the social angle that every book has. His books have also given a fabric on how a professional college hostel looks like, what difficulties the small-town girls and guys face when they seek their future in urbanized places, and many such things.


Apart from fiction writing, he has also written three non-fiction books that question and share the idea of India with future citizens. Even the titles of those books are riveting. The non-fiction books, What Young India Wants (2012), Making India Awesome (2015), and India Positive (2019) have been received well.

During a recent conversation with him, his opinion of reading and today’s decline in reading habits gives an idea about his concern. When asked why people don’t read now, he replied that the advent of technology and especially social media has brought in a huge leap.

He further mentions how people, irrespective of age, are spending more time watching Facebook videos or the Instagram reels for more than 40mins which doesn’t yield anything productive. Though his statements may create uncomfortable ripples among the people who love those apps, his reason stands tall.

400 Days by Chetan Bhagat

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When asked about his new book 400 days and its story,  Chetan says 400 Days is about a missing child in the backdrop of a love story. The book’s main theme is children’s safety in the age of the Internet when everyone has a phone; literally, anyone in the world can reach our kids through the Internet.  

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Chetan Bhagat

Though the story runs on a serious line, the book has the usual elements of love, friendship, and romance. At this juncture, when he was asked about the shift in his writing style from the romance genre to mystery, his reply was honest and realistic. To stay in the competition, it is a mandate to follow the order of the day Chetan’s strive to pitch himself amongst the budding writers made to change his approach in the story-telling. This reply also shows his passion for creating new stories and exploring many facades of society.

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His first novel was published in the year 2004. This is 2021, and there is a vast difference in lifestyle, people’s mindsets,  likes, and interests around the world. It has been a long journey as an author. He was 29 when his first book, and now he is 47. So, it’s a very different Chetan Bhagat in that way.

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Chetan Bhagat

Saying this also gives an important aspect that a writer and a storyteller must evolve. This is proven in his case. He never wanted to be a one-book-hit writer but wanted to be a writer who travels for a long time with his readers keeping in mind the happening around. His stories tell that he was ready to take risks and try different ways in depicting the love stories from the beginning. His ever-evolving attitude also reflects people’s disinterest in reading with the cheaper rates of the Internet that drifts the interest.

The exact amount of Internet can be used to read ebooks or listen to audiobooks, increasing the reading interest. In this regard, when asked about his inclination towards audio and kindle books, his reply was endearing as a commoner. The feeling of holding a book, turning the pages physically with fingers, and smelling the book is missing with the usage of Kindle readers and audiobooks.

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Asking about his reaction to social media trolling, he says he doesn’t care about it anymore. He further states that as he proved himself and has been in the circle for a long time, it is not easy to invalidate his opinions now.

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