Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pop fiction is a great leveller

Whatever your stand on the Jan Lokpal Bill issue, the one heartening aspect of the 13-day circus has been a mass of people from different social strata coming together for one cause. We don’t see this happen often.

We are hyper-aware of how diverse India is. And this diversity is tricky business, in the cultural world especially. There is work created for the masses, like a Bollywood blockbuster or a Page 3-inspired newspaper supplement; and then, there are products we don’t expect will have a wide appeal. However, before Anna Hazare united the nation —  rather than a sliver of disgruntled intelligentsia — India had one great unifier: cheap pop fiction.

Chetan Bhagat’s first novel, Five Point Someone, has sold over 700,000 copies. Karan Bajaj’s debut novel Keep Off The Grass was a bestseller with sales of more than 500,000. Recently, The Secret of the Nagas by Amish is believed to have sold 70,000 copies within a few weeks of its release. All these authors have a few things in common. They are management students; critics rubbish their writing; their books are cheap; and given the sales figures, everyone except the critics (probably the same disgruntled lot who are appalled by Hazare) is buying their books.

Full article here Firstpost

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