Exclusive: Interview with Author Anuja Chauhan!

A candid interview!

Anuja Chauhan is currently busy penning dialogues for the film adaptation of her first novel The Zoya Factor. From her JWT days which gave us the unforgettable taglines, including Pepsi’s Yeh Dil Maange More, Mountain Dew’s Darr Ke Aage Jeet Hai and Kurkure’s Tedha Hai Par Mera Hai to her best-selling novels like The Zoya Factor, Battle for Bittora, The House that BJ Built,  Those Pricey Thakur Girls and the most recent Baaz, Chauhan is the literary popstar of our times.

In a tete-a-tete with Megha Paul, the best-selling author and former advertising stalwart talks about what keeps her busy these days, how life is her biggest inspiration and current fascination with Netflix. Excerpts:

From books to screen

Starring Sonam Kapoor and Dulquer Salmaan, my 2008 novel The Zoya Factor is now being made into the movie. From writing the book to penning dialogues for the movie, this has been one crazy year. I am still tweaking the screenplay to suit the character played by Salmaan, the cricket team’s captain Nikhil Khoda. Now that the character is from Kerala, I am just changing a few things so the story fits in. The movie is looking at an April 2019 release.

Family sagas take centre stage

We Indians have a disproportionate amount of family in our lives. The youngest of four sisters, I have also been a part of this big household. So it is but obvious that families creep into my books. My women protagonists are always embedded in families, in the whole jingbang of aunts and sisters and female friendships. I like my women characters to have some sort of larger life plan than just finding a man or cooking for their children.

Life is inspiration

All fiction, at some point, is derived from personal experience. I do plagiarise from life. But it’s all mix and match. Every character I write about has been inspired by someone I know well or maybe not too well.

Far from the madding crowd

Post the success of The Zoya Factor, I decided to pursue my literary dreams and moved to Bangalore. I also wanted to spend more time with my husband who hails from Bangalore and kids and not miss out on all their teenage gossip. Now, I lead almost an idyllic life here in Bangalore. My house is in the outskirts of the city and offers some beautiful views of Nandi Hills. I wake up early to enjoy the pleasant weather and is proud of her homegrown garden I can have quiet times at home and then rush out into the city when I feel that solitude is getting onto my nerves.

The emergence of digital platforms

We are living in the times of constant experimentation. We have new readers, readership might have gone down but new platforms have come a long way. There has been a shift in audience tastes. With the emergence of the digital platform, publishers and content providers are increasingly looking to chart a more streamlined roadmap to bring compelling narratives to the screen. Even I am watching a lot more Netflix than reading books. The word-to-screen format is the way to go.

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