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Love, North Calcutta, Bold Women and more – Exclusive interviews of Novoneel Chakraborty and Sumrit Shahi

Love, North Calcutta, Bold Women and more – Exclusive interviews of Novoneel Chakraborty and Sumrit Shahi

After a fantastic session on challenges faced by young authors in the world of literature, Meghna Roy and Rupsha Bhadra from Kolkata Bloggers caught up with the two authors Novoneel Chakraborty and Sumrit Shahi.

Novoneel, is an author who has written several books like “All Yours, Stranger” and has also written for youth shows like Million Dollar Girl, Twist Wala Love and Secret Diaries.


Q: Being a young author, what do you think are the challenges faced in “manufacturing” books? Have you had to compromise on the basic plot ever?

Novoneel: You do have to weave a story keeping a lot of things in mind.That happens when you have written five novels I guess but… not a compromise of sorts, but sometimes you have to write a story so that everyone understands it. So sometimes you have to make a story which everyone understands because in India, you know, there are some people who do not read at all, and there are some who read very voraciously. That way it’s not a compromise but it’s about how you tune things up.

Q: Now that you have written some novels, do you plan on altering your genre of writing?

Novoneel: Yeah, I am not planning to change any genre right now because look, more than genre, the story is important for me because, at the end of the day, my reders get attracted to me because of my style. Now, if I change my style, my readership might get affected, so as of now, what I’ll do is write about what I am good at. Maybe say, another ten novels later I may consider that.

Q: What is the inspiration behind your romantic thrillers?

Novoneel: Thriller, because I get bored very easily. And romance because, well, I am a romantic by nature.

Q: Are your bold female characters spun with an aim in mind or mere reflections of reality?

Novoneel: It is very difficult to distinguish between what is reality and what is fiction…it is always a mix. I choose bold female characters because if it’s not bold in books, then where else will it be bold?

Q: Being a Calcuttan yourself, how do you perceive the change in the Great Indian Love Story from the previous generation to this?

Novoneel: The kind of love stories our parents read about was not much diluted, but now I see a lot of distractions to love. That is precisely why I’ve set one of my stories in North Calcutta which still preserves the essence of purity in romance. Since there is so much of influence all around these days that you tend to get away from the core issue. But look at South Calcutta where you find a more cosmopolitan population. I still cling to the fact that there’s the soul of Calcutta in the northern part of this city.

Q: What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Novoneel: Keep reading, and develop writing as a habit. Read the works of different kinds of writers.


Sumrit Shahi, the youngest panelist, is the bestselling author, screenwriter and motivational speaker, and is just 22 years of age!

Q: Do you think art in any way gets trumped in the craze about marketing in the present publishing scenario.

Sumrit: Definitely, I mean, there’s no denying that when you start off with writing, your aim would be to create a strong base of audience, there is not much space for experimentation.Secondly, you would need some information about your subject of writing. In that case, a story about heartbreak would be risky.

Q: Do you, ten years down the line, when you are an established writer, see yourself experimenting with a genre other than romance?

Sumrit: My friends are damn bad critics, They don’t read my books saying, “This is what you are all about.” So I certainly feel the need to change my genre later. I see myself changing my genre when I have adequate experience, exposure, and confidence to experiment.

Q: You have been straddling between television and print media. What are the similarities and differences between these two forms?

Sumrit: I don’t think in terms of content that there’s any similarity. In fact, television caters to a billion people simultaneously. There is very different infrastructure involved in both of these. In case of television there is no voluntary choice that the viewer can exercise, but in case of writing books, there is way more liberty for authors.

Q: How do you come up with the kind of dialogues that appeal to the youngsters?

Sumrit: I think the advantage for me here is that I myself am 22 years old. So I can easily feature snippets from the conversations I have with my friends. That way it’s easier for me. Hence, I just don’t want to grow older.

Q: What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Sumrit: My advice for them is that read, get out of your comfort zone, observe; go, talk to random people. If you sit locked up in your house planning to write a book, you will not be able to write. Get out of your comfort zone, and more importantly, you need to read and start writing. Write every day; you need to, more than practicing, make writing a habit of yours. Take out some time and start writing. Rapid-fire questions

Rapid-fire questions:

Q: Favourite book

Sumrit: The Spectacular Now

Q: A book that has inspired you

Sumrit: A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Q: Where do you see yourself ten years down the line?

Sumrit: As old as these people around me. I grew up reading Novoneel’s novels. [laughs]

Q: And still writing?

Sumrit: Writing for sure.

Q: Favourite genre

Sumrit: I am really hooked to young adult fiction right now.

Q: Novoneel, Sumrit and have worked together before. How comfortable has it been to come together again at the Kolkata Literature Festival?

Sumrit: Yeah, the three of us (Durjoy, Sumrit and Novoneel) have worked together before. Novoneel has inspired me on a lot of issues. It has been a great association. Novoneel is the best writer out of the three of us. He’s been an inspiration. Now we have come to this festival as friends. After this session, he’s going to take me for a ride around the city.

Q: Which places are you going to visit?

Novoneel: He’s a Punjabi. So I’m going to take him to different places to eat.

Sumrit: I want to traverse the Howrah Bridge.

Novoneel: Sure. I will take you there after this.


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