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Chetan Bhagat: Hitting the right notes with Bollywood

He churns out bestsellers which tempt filmmakers to lend them to big screen adaptations. The success ratio of Hindi movies inspired by Chetan Bhagat's books has so far been high, and with the promising response to "2 States", he

Sunday, April 20, 2014 | 1:12:10 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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chetan bhagat

He churns out bestsellers which tempt filmmakers to lend them to big screen adaptations. The success ratio of Hindi movies inspired by Chetan Bhagat's books has so far been high, and with the promising response to "2 States", he seems to be cementing his space in the Bollywood circuit.

"My readers' silent support is my biggest strength. Today you displayed it to the nation. Thank you for the phenomenal opening. '2 States'," Bhagat had posted Friday, the day when "2 States" hit the screens to houseful theatres across India.

The movie is based on his bestseller "2 States: The Story Of My Marriage" about a couple coming from two different Indian states. It was an instant hit in 2009.

Said to be inspired by the real-life story of the north Indian author and his wife who is from Tamil Nadu, the book found a connect with youth and elders alike. Now, the movie seems to be working its magic with viewers of all age groups and managed an opening day collection of over Rs.12 crore - "commendable", according to trade analysts.

Cast on screen in the roles are Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, two of the most talented actors from the young lot. Like several youngsters their age, the two actors also have their memories attached to the book.

While Alia had read it before it was getting made into a film and found it to be "beautiful", Arjun has said that the bestseller occupies a space on his late mother Mona Shourie Kapoor's bookshelf till date.

Whether 16 or 60, people of different sensibilities, generations and ideas are flocking to the theatres to watch the movie, about two states, different cultures and families and one love story.

Even celebrities have loved it.

Commenting on the movie, megastar Amitabh Bachchan has said: " '2 States'...I like. All aspects just so correct - writing, directing, music and performances."

Actor Vivek Oberoi tweeted: "In my opinion Chetan Bhagat is by far the most successful contemporary Indian writer of our times! His individual fan following is epic. He has an incredible ability to communicate, especially with the youth."

No wonder then that Bhagat's waltz with Bollywood seems to be just getting better with every novel that's turned into a movie.

"2 States" is the fourth out of his five works to get a film version.

Two managed to paint a successful box office story - "3 idiots" (based on "Five Point Someone") and "Kai Po Che!" (based on "The 3 Mistakes Of My Life"), while "Hello", inspired by his "One Night @ the Call Center" did not get a great reception.

Nevertheless, following the success of "Kai Po Che!" last year, it was only natural for viewers and readers to have high expectations from the Abhishek Varman-directed "2 States".

In times when remakes and sequels are swarming the Bollywood scenario, Bhagat is among the few new-age authors whose books have been constantly picked by filmmakers for the big screen.

It works in his interest too!

Bhagat, in a recent interview, said: "I like to reach more Indians, and movies help me do so. The bigger the audience I have, the more likely they are to read my non-fiction columns on national issues or be interested in my views."


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