Womennow recently had the chance to catch up with the author of the bestselling novel, ‘What a loser!’.
Pankaj Dubey is a Bestselling Penguin Novelist with his titles What A Loser! and Ishqiyapa-To Hell With Love. He accentuates the socio – political undercurrents with quirks and humour in his style of writing. He was recently selected for the prestigious Writer’s Residency in Seoul Art Space, South Korea amongst three Novelists from Asia. He has also been a Journalist with the BBC World Service in London. His debut novel, What a Loser! won the ‘Lit-O-Fest Award for the Best First Published Book of an Author in 2015’.He is based out of Mumbai and can be followed on his twitter handle @carryonpd.com
Tell us about your early years.
PD: I discovered it quite early in my life that it has been my inner urgeto reach out to the masses by various ways and platforms. I always loved to participate in creative writing, public speaking, debates, theatre and a myriad range of co-curricular activities since my school days. Later I decided to take up my extracurricular activities as my natural career option. You can say I am a vagabond in many respects.
How has the journey from Chaibasa, Jharkhand to England been?
PD: Quite an exciting one. Thanks to my imagination that I went on moving through different social, cultural and political layers and demographic profile of the places I have lived in right from Chaibasa to Ranchi to Delhi to London to Mumbai now. Now I realise that I might not be living in Chaibasa, the small town of my childhood memories physically but Chaibasa lives in me.
Any particular incident/experience that introduced you to the world of literature?
PD: Nothing in particular but our way of life in general. My father taught English literature and it was a natural set up in the family go by on day to day basis. I remember my father quoting excerpts from so many classics while discussing daily affairs with us. In a way it has been quite a lucky childhood for me. As a child when I skipped to take a shower he would quote, “Look at my Father: he never had a bath in his life; and he lived to be ninety-eight, the healthiest man of Bulgaria.” (From ‘Arms and the Man’ by George Bernard Shaw).
A specific genre of writing that interests you the most?
PD: Literature that reflects society and politics but in a very interesting manner. I believe in trying to bridge the gap between the readers and the writings.
Looking back, do you recollect any particular setback on your journey?
PD: The journey has just begun.
Your book, ‘What a Loser!’ has been quite a success! Congratulations! Please shed some light on the main character of the novel.
PD: Thanks a lot. The protagonist of What A Loser!, Pandey Anil Kumar Sinha (PAKS) is quite a character. He has his conflict with his identity and tries everything possible he could to get accepted in a metropolis. During his journey, he realises that the only way to achieve excellence is to accept one’s own self and proceed in the area one is meant for naturally. Thus, the idea is to identify that ‘one special thing’.
Tell us about your venture into films. How powerful do you think Cinema as a medium is in spreading awareness on social issues?
PD: I have worked as Script Supervisor in a couple of films like Ghanchakkar and Chauranga. Besides, I have produced some shorts under my banner Vagabond Motion Pictures, to sharpen my skills.
Cinema is quite a powerful medium to reach out to even those who cannot or do not want to read.
Any plans of a translating your book into a movie? Do you see a future in Bollywood as a Scriptwriter or a Director?
PD: I have already adapted my novel What A Loser! into a feature film screenplay and am all set to make my Directorial debut in filmmaking very soon.
Please tell us about your latest Bestselling title Ishqiyapa-To Hell With Love published by Penguin.
PD: Ishqiyapa- To Hell with Love is about being in love with love. It also deals with the way India has witnessed a sea change in the way teenagers dream post Globalisation. The female protagonist of Ishqiyapa is quite an emancipated girl and leads her life quite interestingly.
Any message for the womenfolk in the country?
PD: I don’t think I qualify to give messages to the fairer gender. Still, would avail the opportunity and say one thing that- ‘Just be yourself, you are far ahead already. You have the Emotional Intelligence and that what’s matter.’