Novelist and filmmaker Pankaj Dubey talks about his latest book Love Curry, how every story is inspired by some event that’s happened in the world and what he is passionate about
I love to be loved for my story telling, says Pankaj Dubey. The bi-lingual novelist and filmmaker says it motivates him to work in different styles of writing. In fact, Dubey is ready with his next book Love Curry, which will be out soon. Known for What A Loser! and Ishqiyapa - To Hell With Love, Dubey is adapting his first novel into a film and says that they are pitching the idea to interested studios.
As for Love Curry, the story discusses the conflict of identity of the Indian diaspora, in the UK in particular, and rest of the Western world in general.
Dubey also got associated with the book titled, Have A Safe Journey, which is an initiative by Ministry of Road Transport & Highway India and is being touted as the world’s first collection of short stories on road safety.
Excerpts from an interview:
What is the inspiration behind Love Curry?
Love Curry is partly a personal account of my life during the time I stayed in the UK while pursuing my Masters in Applied Communications at Coventry University and while working with BBC, London. I was there for three years or a little more than that. I have been a keen observer of the situations in and around me and my circle of friends, their friends. Making that the basis of my plot, I have tried to fictionalise here and there.
I got inspired by my own experiences. I always wanted to put down these experiences in the form of a novel and eventually a film. But I did not want it to be my debut novel because it was such a vast subject.
I was not prepared also because I had to hone my craft and the theme was quite big on the canvas — quite relevant politically and socially.
In a recent interview, you had said that ‘there’s nothing called fiction’. Can you elaborate?
I strongly believe that everything we write is drawn from real life. When things are way too sensitive, we change the names of the characters or the incidents. I strongly believe that to a large extent, everything we are reading is inspired by something that has occurred somewhere in the world. Maybe we don’t report the incidents as they happened because the life of every character cannot be interesting. Even in our own life, all the incidents are not very interesting. What we do is club two-three interesting characters and while weaving the story, something more interesting does come up to spice it up.
I feel that fiction is a mask to hide true incidents because we are scared of how people will react and there’s always an issue of permission. For me, the ideas come from observing people and situations around me.
You had announced that you are adapting the story of your first book, What A Loser! into a film. How far has the project progressed?
I have adapted the story. The screenplay and dialogue draft is ready after a lot of deliberation. We are pitching it to some interested studios and will shortly come out with an announcement.
All your stories have socio–political angle with an undercurrent of humour. Does the process of writing stories in a certain style become monotonous at times?
I don’t think it becomes monotonous because I do not have a fixed pattern to write, it comes naturally to me. The basic idea is to tell my stories honestly and in a simple way so that it reaches everyone.
When you are a sensitive person, your story has to be relevant both socially and politically. But it’s not a problem for me because in all my stories, plots, characters, geography are different. Yes, the writer is the same and thankfully the readers are increasing with every single book.
Writing, films, politics... you juggle between so many things. What keeps you going and motivated?
I think all of us are different individuals with our set of interest areas, and the passion to do things our own way. Primarily, I think I am a natural storyteller and my innermost urge in life is to observe things around me, process them in my heart and lace them with emotions and tell stories.
As far as writing and making films is concerned, they are different forms of storytelling. As I wanted my stories to reach a larger audience, I learnt the craft of making films. It’s for those who can’t read or do not have the time to read but are interested in watching films.
I am quite passionate to tell my stories to a wider audience. The urge to be loved by more and more people gives me the kick and motivates me. I love to be loved by as many people for my storytelling in different forms.