Having done my MBA from the same college as the famous author Chetan Bhagat, I have always been baffled by people’s perception towards Chetan Bhagat’s books.
A lot of avid readers of English novels are not “loyal fans” of his writing, and I can summarize their feeling in just one sentence- saying:
“Even I could have done this, but I didn’t; and now I hate this guy for achieving what he did with this”
This is what has been the common theme behind the overflowing hatred towards the Bestsellers that Chetan Bhagat produced.
At times, I too tried to jump on the same train before I realized the true nature of what CB achieved that noone else could.
Chetan Bhagat has written more than 10 successful books/novels. Over 4 have turned bestsellers and have movies made from them. The books are not exceptional and you might not like them but you can’t take even a single bit away for creating the awe-inspiring success of CB. His sale numbers have consistently been on a rise and are not going to go down in the foreseeable future.
The language in Chetan Bhagat’s books is extremely easy without any exaggerated vocabulary. This made the “select few” lose their privilege as now there were so many people in India who were able to read these novels written in English.
Before Chetan Bhagat came up with his first book, there were not many English novels available where reader did NOT have to go to dictionary to grasp the theme. And that was pushing many “aspiring readers” away. This in turn gave the “able readers” a sense of monopoly when it came to reading English novels. The easy-to-read CB novels just took away this monopoly and made “lifelong enemies” for himself.
Chetan Bhagat is an exceptional MBA (Yes, same college and I couldn’t stop but bring this point) who saw the gap between the readers’ skills and the available books. He catered to this untapped opportunity by producing easy-to-read books.
More than the feeling of success of reading English novels completely, there was a fear of NOT being able to finish the books. And many had experienced it. It’s not that the other writers are doing something wrong. But if I can attempt to quantify what was happening:
If the average English novels’ readers’ skills in India was at X, majority of the books were demanding X + 5.
There was not much material available at the skill level “X”.
CB catered to this level and not only did he succeeded into selling more books, he eventually motivated these readers to try to grow from X to X + 1, X + 2 and so on – to read the fantastic books available in the market.
CB didn’t take away any readers from Dan Brown. But in the long run, he definitely increased a small number of readers who would attempt The Da Vinci Code with a motivated spirit and try to complete it no matter what.