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A bad choice to sell book to TV channels: Anuja Chauhan

Anuja Chauhan

New Delhi : With successful campaigns like ‘Yeh Dil Maange More’, ‘Darr ke Aage Jeet hai’, ‘Kit Kat Break Banta Hai’ among others, Anuja Chauhan had a thriving advertising career many would vouch for, yet she decided to switch careers and write novels in what she calls a “quest for control”.

“It was not that there would be no more advertising, but more like I needed to do something more. And that happened very specifically. I remember the day, we were shooting a Pepsi campaign with Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Madhavan and Surya. It was a crazy budget and a crazy shoot! It was so hectic, nerve-wracking and frantic that it became depressing.

“I went back to the hotel room that night and decided that I have to do something different. It was a quest for control that got me started on writing books,” says Chauhan.

The 1970-born Chauhan, who has penned bestsellers like ‘The Zoya Factor’, ‘Battle for Bittora’, ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’ and the more recent ‘The House that BJ Built’ lends a unique style of perkiness, wit, humour and cheek to stories in a language which is not run-of-the-mill.

Given the entertaining and meaty plots in her books, film companies acquired rights to turn the books for the 70mm screens soon enough, though none of them is out yet.

“Film producers who came, be it the Anil Kapoor Film company or Pooja Shetty Deora have kept the projects live. They have recently just extended the contract.

“The reasons they gave me for the delay quite often are that the book is so thick and fat that it was difficult to make into a screenplay. The other thing is they have trouble casting heroes, because apparently they are woman oriented films,” Chauhan says adding that male actors rarely want to play second fiddle.

She sold the rights of her third book, ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’ to a TV channel for a daily Hindi soap, which bombed. She agrees that “it was a bad choice” but maintains she had intended to reach a larger audience through it.

“All the TV channels wanted it because it was 5 sisters. I got lots of money and it is always a very good reason, specially when you’re hoping to live by your writing.

“The other thing is that the book was also being translated into seven different languages and at that time it seemed like a really good idea to have a TV serial in Hindi at the time the translation was coming out. But then it did not turn out to be a good choice at all,” she told PTI in an interview.

Although the women in Chauhan’s books are feisty and strong, much of their trouble arises when they fall in love. However, the author feels that it is no dichotomy as smart girls can also go “weak in the knees” if they like someone.

“Just because you are an intelligent and smart girl doesn’t mean that you aren’t capable of going weak in the knees and not have a very, very goofy reaction to someone she really likes. I see absolutely no dichotomy in that.

“It works for both sexes, whether you are a man or a woman. That is romance and chemistry. Who said you cannot be flimsy yet strong,” she says.

Chauhan’s first book ‘The Zoya Factor’ is a funny, romantic tale set in the heart of Delhi between the Indian cricket team captain and an advertising professional, which seemed to carry traits from the real world of cricket.

The writer, however, brushes away such notions saying thatthe man she created in the book was her image of an ideal captain.

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