Tuhin Sinha, bestselling author, columnist & script consultant, was in conversation with me during the Times Delhi Literature Festival on Mon, 30 Nov 15 at the iconic Oberoi Maidens hotel. One of the 11 authors of the Times of India’s ‘Write India’ initiative, Tuhin lives in Mumbai.
10 seconds video on his latest, Let the Reason be Love
Kulpreet Yadav: You have experimented with different genres in your writing career. What is the reason for this? Usually authors tend to write a few books in one genre to consolidate their readership & then move on. Most stick to one kind of writing. Why is yours different?
Tuhin Sinha: Well, if you ask me, there’s no creative reason why a writer should stick to one genre. Writers do it either because they are not confident of pulling off other genres or they like to play it safe in so far as marketing of these books is concerned. As a creative person, I have always wanted to test myself and raise the bar. I wanted each of my first five books to be very different from each other. I just always had the confidence I could pull off different genres.
KY: I’ve noticed that your characters stand out more in you novels & tend to dominate the plot. Do you give both the plot & characters equal value at the time of story-boarding or you just work the characters and dive in.
TS: I have the basic storyline in mind even before I put anything on paper. But yes I give a huge importance to developing characters and their nuances in great detail. Quirky yet relatable characters are crucial in drawing your readers into the lives of these characters and it makes the story believable.
KY: Politics is a theme in a few of your novels. We also know that you are a member of a certain political party. Don’t you think public leaning on one party limits your choice to woo the readers?
TS: Well, as an individual I have the right to subscribe to my views. But then as a writer the challenge is to not impose those views upon the readers. And I take due care to ensure that I don’t lose my objectivity as a storyteller. If one of the characters in my book subscribes to a certain ideology, then there is always another character to provide a contrarian viewpoint. That way, I end up providing different perspectives to the readers without getting judgmental.
KY: I think one of the strong fulcrums of your writing is relationships. Better then most other writers, you have a clear understanding of the desires & aspirations of the opposite gender. We have also seen this in the TV series that you have written. How do you achieve this so consistently?
TS: Certain things just happen. Maybe I am more observant of the opposite gender’s behavior.
KY: Mumbai or Delhi, where do you feel yourself more at home? Which city drives your passion best & why.
TS: Mumbai during the rains, Delhi in winters. Rest of the year, either of the two cities is fine. But since I have been in Mumbai for 15 years now, I obviously have a greater comfort level with the city.
KY: As a parent you chose to stay at home to raise your son when your wife was working. What has it taught you? We know you have written a full book on the subject but tell us what did you learn from your experience as a new age parent. The book of parenting happened after your experience or before it?
TS: Well fatherhood is an absolutely blissful experience. And time permitting every father should spend as much time with his baby in the first few years as possible. There’s nothing as beautiful as seeing the gradual evolution of a newborn as months and years go by.
KY: Falling in love, out of love, realizing mistake & happy ever after. This formula has worked for ages, how long do you think it will continue to work?
TS: It’s timeless… It will work as long as people continue falling in and out of love.
KY: Unlike other bestselling authors, I’ve noticed that you are a reluctant marketer of your books. I think you rely more on the content to stimulate readers leading to a word of mouth marketing. If my assumption is right, please share your thoughts about this.
TS: Well, I guess it depends on what you are as a person. While, like any other author, I would want my books to sell the most, I would do it without losing my dignity. It may sound a bit complicated. So let me explain this with an example. It’s common knowledge that authors invariably draw a lot of inspiration from their personal lives and some of their fiction stories are born out of their personal experiences. Which is absolutely fine! But when they go on an overdrive, claiming “its something I have personally experienced” and giving out the details. What they don’t realize is that they are not being fair or sensitive to the other real life characters involved in the story. I could never do something like this and instead of using the “its something I have experienced” card, I much rather play it down in interviews. But I have no regrets, really. To each his own!
So in the end, how you market your books is a lot about the kind of the person you are. Also at this stage of my career, there is more to me than my books. And I am more comfortable marketing the package more aggressively than marketing each individual book.
KY: Writers returning awards, what is your take on this?
TS: Well, it was a very contrived way of protesting. I have already written about it in detail on one of my blog posts on ibnlive.com. As a means of protest, the pen is way mightier than pretentious acts of renunciation.
Next time a writer feels such an urge, he should begin by returning his birth certificate.
KY: Women no longer need a man for social or security reasons. Men still need women for emotional balance. Don’t you think the modern age has skewed the mutual dependence on one another and they don’t reside on Mars & Venus anymore, but on earth? And they are no longer the opposites they used to be? Pls decode the men- women relationship from the future for us.
TS: The interesting part is that there is not much difference today between the way a man behaves and the way a woman behaves. Conventional roles, expectations and protocol are getting redundant. At the same time increased professional competitiveness, pressures and the resultant insecurities are also negatively impacting personal bonds. No wonder then that man-woman relationship is trickier and more complicated today than ever before.
KY: In a book on relationships how important is the inclusion of sex?
TS: As important as bathing is in an individual’s daily routine! But how you write it is purely personal choice. It also reflects upon your personal tastes.
KY: You have worn many hats: A novelist, a screenplay writer, a sit-at-home parent, and an aspiring politician. Which role have you enjoyed the most & why?
TS: I see them all as important components of a very exciting journey. I cherish all these roles equally.