Tuhin Sinha is probably the most versatile author of our times. ‘That thing called love’, ‘Captain’, ‘Of Love And Politics’ & ‘The Edge Of Desire’ all have different concept and belong to different league where in you don’t read a book but you feel one. Tuhin is also a popular script writer and is quite common on news channel these days discussing spot fixing in IPL or BJP’s fate in general elections. Other than that Tuhin is a proud father as you would see numerous photos of his cute baby, Neev and I am already his big fan. I wonder why Jhonson baby people didn’t notice him yet. Anyway, let’s get on with the interview.
Subho: If you ask any author today, they would say they are accidental authors what about you?
Tuhin: Six or seven years ago, it was anyway unthinkable to make a living as an author in India. Even today, only a fraction of Indian authors can live off only writing books. Fortunately, things have changed lately. Today, school and college students write to me saying they want to become writers. So the new crop of writers that you will see in the coming years, will probably be authors and writers by choice. As for me, I came to Mumbai to be an actor, destiny took its own course after that.
(Everyone comes to Mumbai with the same dream.)
Subho: Though I know there are few like you, Chetan, Durjoy or Novoneel who are not into other profession rather than writing. Does just writing can support authors financially?
Tuhin: At this stage it does for me. Besides, I anyway take up screen-writing assignments from time to time.
(I wonder when it will do for me. Damn! IT hurts!!!)
Subho: I always thought your first book was chic dude-lit story but there on you moved on to serious topics, what made you to go for such topics? Weren’t you scared that they might not work?
Tuhin: No risk, no gain. For me to evolve as a writer, it is important to experiment as much as I can and I have done with every book of mine. For instance, in The Edge Of Desire, the story was narrated in first person from the female protagonist’s point of view. I can’t recall any other instance where a male author has written in first person from a woman’s perspective.
(Writing from a female point of view makes you to like pink. #Mumbai Unplugged)
Subho: After working with Srishti, you actually worked with almost all leading publishing houses in the country, how difficult it is to get those big publishers?
Tuhin: It depends entirely on the quality of what you’re pitching to them.
(It also depends what your name is?)
Subho: Talking about big publishers only, earlier we had faith that these publishers publish quality but these days they have taken readers for granted and we see crap stuff by big names. Your opinion?
Tuhin: It’s sad that mediocre books often sell better. One of the reasons for this is the huge chunk of first time English readers in India, whose exposure is limited. In the next few years as this chunk evolves, hopefully it will demand better quality and the situation will improve.
(I would then love to see that time when readers buy a book for its quality.)
Subho: How do you market your books?
Tuhin: The strategy differs from book to book. Earlier I used to have lavish launch events with celebrities but now the focus is more on the internet and social media promotions. In fact, That Thing Called Love was the first book which had a video promo and music video shot around it for promotional purposes.
(Thanks to window movie maker we now have teasers for every novel these days)
Subho: I know you were into script writing stuffs, would love more about it. Anything new you’re doing or just have publishing books?
Tuhin: I take up screenwriting assignments from time to time even though my first priority is books. In the last two years I have worked on some famous soaps like Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai(Star), Afsar Bitiya(Zee) and Kehta Hai Dil Jee Le Zara(Sony).
(I seriously have a big crush on Heena Khan. I hope Tuhin has her no.)
Subho: I have seen Ketan Bhagat retweeting even bad reviews of his book and there are few who would smash their critics’s heads. What’s your take on criticism?
Tuhin: Criticism helps you grow. I have absolutely no issue with criticism as long as the reviewer retains some amount of objectivity in his review. But I don’t take kindly to criticism which reeks of bias, ignorance or when it’s done for the heck of it.
(Of course, there are few self proclaimed critics too.)
Subho: I had read an amazing article about your love story in Times lifelong back. I would want you to share your this wonderful story.
Tuhin: Ramyani wrote to me after reading That Thing Called Love. We chatted a bit and then met over coffee, then over dinner. We bonded, started meeting more often, dated, took a reverse gear, became friends then shifted gears again & one and a half years after our first meeting, we decided to get married. We got married on 11th Dec, 2009.
Subho: It’s amazing to see your kid’s pictures on facebook, so junior Tuhin is like?
Tuhin: Neev believes he is an action hero. At 15 months, he jumps down from the bed or climbs the table with an unusual confidence that keeps us scared and on our toes all the time. I often take him on a drive all alone. He is extremely possessive of me and hates it if I have a long conversation on phone or if someone hugs me in front of me Fatherhood has been the best and most fulfilling experience of my life.
(I will surely take his autograph once he learns to hold a pen)
Subho: Let’s take some questions from our online members. Hello! Friends! Tuhin is online with us.
Tuhin: Friends, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to this exciting event. The credit for this goes to Subho.
(Questions have been coming up since I created this event on FB and among then Soumya is the one eagerly waiting to ask question since long, so we start with her)
Soumya : Do you feel the urge to pen down any real time love stories you might witness??
Tuhin: I am always open to it but since I have my plate full for the next 2 years, it will have to be extraordinary.
Soumya : You know what Sir, That thing called love was the most touching and extraordinary I have ever come across. Whenever I read it, I involuntarily start visualizing it. I have all the characters etched in my mind.
Tuhin: There's some good news for you then, I am working on a book, that's a quasi-sequel to ttcl. It should be out sometime mid next year.
(She might not end at all; I declare her the Super fan winner and move ahead.)
Shreeyan: Do you have interest in "horror stories?" Will you write any, in future?
Tuhin: Nope :(
(Read Rakhi Sawant’s autobiography instead)
Archana: My experience as the reader of your novels commenced with the engrossing 'That thing called love' which became one of the best books of mine. I wanted to know, how much real life experience influenced you in your work as a first time novelist? Or was it all a fiction?
Tuhin: Hi Archana, most fiction whether you acknowledge it or not, is inspired from real incidents. So was That Thing Called Love. I had seen many of its characters and situations exist around me. But at the end of the day, it was a fiction novel.
Shreeyan : "Feminism is a path to destruction?" I mean, girls are trying to level us in each and every field shows their courage indeed but they have taken it very wrongly. Most females think: ‘If males can drown themselves in water, even we can’. The ‘f’ word from the lips of girls (Oh wait a minute, I should be scared of equality Nazi people – I mean, “People”) has become a common phenomenon of coolness. Smoking, boozing, drugs – whatever the men do, the women should possess an equal right to do it (even if it has an aftermath). Over the ages, the word of “equality” has gained a collateral greyer side. Why can't we have a female "leader, inspiration and mentor" just like APJ Abdul Kalam or J R D Tata.The main question is... Why "equality" and why not "dual reformation"? Why not penalise both the genders if they do wrong? After all you are a parent now and you understand it better.
Tuhin: I understand what you are trying to say, often people take the word 'liberation' far too seriously n indulge in stuff that's aberrant rather than modern or liberated. But I guess the solution lies with the individual and at best with parents. Growing up year is crucial from the point of view of developing healthy, sensible attitudes and I guess parents have an important role to play here.
(That’s something beyond my understanding, I declare Shreeyan Weird Question winner.)
Himani : My question for you is : From love story to cricket then politics. Your all three books are from different genre, how did you manage the different league?
Tuhin : I consciously wanted to experiment with my first few books instead of getting stuck in one genre.
(Himani! First you should read something other than love story.)
Atulya : I have read your book TTL. After 6 years past for this Book. What do you think the definition of Love is still same?
Tuhin: It is as confusing as it was then.
(Everybody wants to know that answer, especially my girlfriend!)
Heena: From so many upcoming romance novels how is your novel different from others? What's its usp? Why should we grab and read it?
Tuhin : While romance definitely forms the backdrop of my stories, the books deal with larger societal and political issues as well usp Of Love And Politics and The Edge Of Desire
(God! Heena! He is our guest and not a salesman.)
Atanu: Why you're so fascinated about that name MAYANK? if I am not wrong then your first two books lead characters had same name.
Tuhin : Mayank and Revathi were both lucky for me in my first book. Besides, both characters had become so popular that I was tempted to retain these names in my second book.
Gyandeep: Right now I'm reading Of Love And Politics and am midway. I have to say I'm quite into it. What do you think is your favorite character in the book, if not Aditya?
Tuhin: As the creator I love all the three main characters in it. Aditya, Brajesh and Chaitali. It’s tough for me to choose one over other. What's your opinion of Chaitali?
Gyandeep : Well, Chaitali definitely has been sketched very aptly. But if you ask me, I'd definitely go for Mr. Yadav who goes on to advise Aditya when it's needed. The way Mr. Yadav has been sketched, absolutely excellent work! He really adds to the substance of the story!!
(Substance!!! That’s why they are from Hachette Publications)
Sundeep: I love the new of your book 'That Thing Called Love' than the cover posted in the cover of this event. The new one is more appealing. Well, that might have been one reason I didn't read your book, Tuhin ji. The new cover is way better than the former one! Anyways, here is my first question-To do some research about asking you a question I have gone through GoodReads and found out that you are not a member of GoodReads and there is only one books of yours tagged under your name. Why did you feel it’s not worth joining GoodReads?
(This guy spends more time on Goodreads than FB)
Tuhin: Internet is often a compulsion than a choice. It takes away a lot of the time I would otherwise utilize for writing or research but glad you pointed out.
(I hope Tuhin knows about GoodReads. Anyway, I saw him googling it. Anyway, Good reads have been a great platform for wannabe writers; I don’t know big authors are those active there.)
Avisek : I really liked your novels n they r really very touching n most importantly they all are from different genres....hats off for that... I know that you have a great family and sweet son "Neev". So I want to know have you ever thought about writing some family drama type story with values principles n full of emotions? I think present generation is losing the family values and your work can somehow help to inculcate it in youngsters.
Tuhin: Hi Avisek, thanks for the appreciation. Writing a novel takes me at least a few months if not more. Hence, even though I might want to, there are only that many stories which I can manage. I want to experiment with every possible genre maybe I will create a family drama a few years hence.
Abhinav: Nowadays so much of fiction around and no doubt quality has gone down. With similar storyline. Plus the grammatical part. So don’t you think that there must be some criteria which an author should posses before getting printed because to stop degrading. The fiction some action has to be taken. I may sound rude to few but truth is writers have increased and readers have decreased.
(It’s like every author thinks himself Shakespeare. That’s why every other book comes with a bestseller tag even though it has sold less than 100 copies)
Tuhin: It’s a sad fact that mediocre stuff sells slightly better, the same is happening with movies. Some of the most mediocre movies are the first to make it to Rs.100 cr club.
(I want Rohit Shetty & Sajid Khan to be banned)
Meanwhile, Tuhin gets an important assignment to take his Kid out since he is not liking his dad sitting over laptop and ignoring him. He is already giving me dead looks and I better leave his Dad alone. So, we wrap up the chat.
Subho: We wrap up the event now. Thanks Tuhin to chat with us. And cheers to all the online members !!!!
Tuhin: Thank you friends for taking time out on a Sunday afternoon. It was lovely chatting with you all. I wish you the very best in life and look forward to being in touch. Last but not the least, a big thank you to Subho.
The winners are Soumya Shrivastava, Avishek Prasad and Shreeyan Laha for this event.
That thing called love promo (Directed by Manasvi Sharma)
Of Love And Politics launch by Ravi Shankar Prasad and Bhupendra Chaubey
Here is the official teaser of his book 'The Edge of Desire'