Happy Sunday Peeps!!
Today is that interesting part of the week where I talk one-on-one with an amazing personality and make you go through it in the form of a blog! Let’s again come back to one of the basic pillars of literature, WRITING! We have someone with us, whose single book ranked 1st in Amazon for the 6th time recently. Today we get to know the life of a person who wrote the 1st book in India about Serial Killers. We are talking about none other than – Mr. Anirban Bhattacharya.
I used to cry a lot and was very introverted in my boarding school.
Born in Kolkata Anirban was sent to a boarding school called “Dr. Graham’s Homes” at the age of 7 in the beautiful town of Kalimpong which became his second home till 10th. “The moment I was sent, I thought my parents had rejected me as ghar mein 1 chhota bhai aa gaya. I used to cry a lot and was very introverted in my boarding school. There is a culture of sports in these types of schools and I was not a part of it. Also, I used to get bullied a lot.
Slowly being there I discovered something about me which was my love for the stage, so I use to do all that, participate in all kinds of stage activities, school plays, debates and win. After 10th I came to Kolkata and did my further studies in St. Xavier’s (Bachelor’s in English Literature). Then shifted to Delhi for M.A. in Mass Comm. from MCRC Jamia. After my M.A. I came to Bombay in 1998 and started working in production houses and channels.”
Created Savdhaan India on Life OK Channel. Since 2019 I am producing Crime Patrol. Last year I also produced Fear Files for Zee.
“I started my career with Channel [v] in 1999, that time it was a music channel. I use to work with Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Suchitra Pillai, Gaurav Kapur, Purab Kohli, I use to produce shows first, then in 2006, I rejoined as the Executive Producer and Head of Content and I had to look after all the shows of [v]. This went on for quite some time and then I joined Walt Disney company as well.
In 2008-09 I quit my corporate life and started my own production house, ‘Rowdy Rascal’ with a friend. In 2012, we created Savdhaan India on Life OK Channel, and then we went out to produce more than 1000 episodes for the show. I was the Producer and Creative Show-Runner basically, also I used to write sometimes too. Since 2019 I am producing Crime Patrol. Last year I also produced Fear Files for Zee. So basically this has been and still is my bread and butter and I enjoy the genre of horror and crime.”
Wow! This sounds so filmy! But then, amongst all this, when did the writing bug bite you?
“I wanted to become a writer since I was a kid. I had this keeda in me. But then jeevan ki aapa dhaapi mein this thought took a backstep. Then in 2018, I met Suhail Mathur. He is a writer himself. When I met him accidentally, he noticed me saying that I wanted to become a writer too. So he told me that he runs a Literary Agency – ‘The Book Bakers’. And if I am willing to write, I should send my manuscript.
He told me, “There is a hunger of true crime books in the market from publishers.” And then threw the million-dollar question to me – “Why don’t u write as that’s your expertise area as well? Publishers will understand and appreciate the value also!” So I sent my manuscript, and a few days after that was told that Penguin has liked the idea. June 2019 my book “The Deadly Dozen” was launched in Mumbai by Anurag Kashyap.”
This is going more interesting than I thought! Let me dig in a bit, no? But then, apart from producing stories and writing your book which eventually became the best-seller! How did you end up being a Stand-Up Artist as well?
“Stand-Up Comedy happened to me before writing. I am India’s 1st Open-Mic Winner. This happened when Comedy Store was launched in Mumbai. This was before Canvas. And this was UK based company, who opened up in Mumbai. So I use to perform over there with foreign stand-up artists. But then, I couldn’t make it my bread and butter. Then again 4 years back, I thought of going back to it as I don’t have to think about the bread and butter now. So I started performing again. Also, I have a solo special show called – Don’t mess with the Bong!”
Man with multiple talents he is! So, how do you want people to remember you – A Writer, A Producer, or A Stand-Up Artist!?
“I want to be remembered as a person who was not afraid to try anything. So, I have tried everything (except singing). Because everything has its own experience. I don’t want to spend my life in a corporate doing desk job. Or do only stand up or being a writer.”
Great! But then, why this genre? What attracts you towards this particular genre?
“This genre – because people are into this. They love to poke their nose into other’s matters. Anything and everything we are always interested in other’s lives, more of the negative things like crime. Even if u see any particular media, 50% of it is filled with crime. People have a tendency to discuss other people’s life.”
“The book also that I wrote on serial killers, I had 2 things in mind, (1) We think that the concept of serial killing is western, the fact that even India has its own serial killers, a lot of people didn’t know about it. So I wanted to highlight this fact. (2) In India, there has never been a book on serial killers in such detail.”
Wow! Isn’t this brutally honest and extremely thoughtful! When asked what kind of books were his mates during his early days till now –
“I grew up reading Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys Jeffery Archer, then Amitav Ghosh, Murakami, etc. I really fell in love with the style of writing they have. Apart from that, I don’t read those typical commercial best-sellers. I don’t have that patience anymore. I used to love Stephen King, Robin Cook, etc. but not anymore. Probably I have become lazy as well.”
Nice escape there Mr. Bhattacharya but, will crime and fiction be your forte forever?
“Absolutely not! My 2nd book which is coming this year is a children’s book. I have taken a completely different shift to young adult fiction. My 3rd book is a historical memoir. My 4th book is horror. So I am trying a different genre. I don’t want to be stamped into a profession or genre.”
And does the Digital Media has made any difference in the lives of writers as well? Now that so many series are into existence, so many stories being used, writers are definitely getting work but is it going to be their game-changer as well?
Earlier we use to do a day job and write our books as well. But the scenario has changed now.
“Digital Media has given great power to writers too. They have a different platform to showcase their talent. It is a boom for the writers, now they can monetize their writing as well. Now a writer can sustain his living only on writing. Earlier we use to do a day job and write our books as well. But the scenario has changed now. Writers are getting their recognition, monetarily as well. So the way we access the writing might differ from time to time, but writing would be in demand. The publication also I believe will always be there, the smell of a new book, the aura of going to a book store and purchasing a new book is something altogether different.”
Do you feel Women in our country are down-trodden?
“Generation after generation we have created this image of women of being in the kitchen or being a home-maker or being just a mother, which is absolute nonsense. If you see the global thing, the country run by women are far better, they have performed better in this COVID crisis than men. New Zealand is free from COVID right now, even Germany has got controlled over the situation. Now if you look into the USA or India, nothing has happened. We are actually into a ticking time bomb.”
Your views on Woman Empowerment! How do you see it?
Women are far more organized, take ownership of their work, and act more responsible.
“Feminism if you talk of, it is a much-abused and misunderstood term. As soon as you say Feminism, our patriarchy antenna erects. Over the centuries, women have been subjugated. I believe feminism is a fight for equality. Patriarchy and misogyny still exist and I believe it will continue to exist for some time more but now, there are better women leaders. Women are far more organized, take ownership of their work, and act more responsible. They are very transparent as well. Women empowerment needs to be pushed on, it needs to be focused on and things will change in the next 10 years, it will be very, very different.”
Well then, it was amazing talking to you! Any ending note for our readers!
“For people who want to be a writer, don’t think about getting published, first write. I have personally met people, who don’t write because they have a fear that nobody would read it. Or it’s like I am scared to death so I won’t go to the battle-field. Or when the war comes, then I will start my preparation. This doesn’t work. So do dive in, and start writing.” Quotes the multi-talented who believes that writing is not a profession, its passion. He also believes that few of the commercially hit writers of India are Amish, Chetan Bhagat, Amitav Ghosh, and Devdutt Patnaik.
And the conversation with the multi-talented Anirban Bhattacharya who also acted in 2 Bollywood movies – “Sui Dhaaga” and “Mission Mangal” ended after exchanging heartfelt pleasantries.