Arjun Kapoor and Chetan Bhagat
Turning hero twice over with a film on Bhagat’s work, Arjun defends the much trolled writer, says he knows how to connect with average reader
Mohar Basu (MID-DAY; May 10, 2017)

Ever since the IIM graduate began penning stories inspired by the middle-class, literature lovers have criticized the growth of Chetan Bhagat into a writer, whose arguably average books make for easy sales. That four of his books, the latest being the young adult-romance, Half Girlfriend, have been recreated for the big screen, is reason enough to cut him some slack, feels Arjun Kapoor, who headlines the upcoming adaptation.

“Chetan is an intelligent writer, one who knows how to tap into the mindset of Indian readers. People must acknowledge he has cracked the code, making him saleable as well as relatable,” Kapoor says, adding that the Indian tapestry is obsessed with education and romance, both of which usually find place in Bhagat’s novels. “Love happens in colleges, life hits you at that age too. So, anyone who hears the synopsis of a quintessential Chetan Bhagat novel will say this has happened to him or someone he knows. That’s where he wins and establishes a relationship with his fans,” Kapoor says about the writer, who was recently trolled on social media after reports of his book, Five Point Someone (2004) making it into the Delhi University syllabus, hit headlines.

Kapoor, it seems, fits the part of Bhagat’s urbane middle-class protagonist perfectly, given that this film marks his second outing in a Bhagat adaptation. The actor’s 2014 Indian drama, 2 States, featuring Alia Bhatt, was also recreated from Bhagat’s 2009 book by the same name. Kapoor admits he’s never read the novels, given that he goes “by the director’s vision”, but adds that multiple adaptations of his writing to film are testimony to the fact that Bhagat has done something right. “People want to see these characters take shape. His characters are everyday Joes, and I have been fortunate to play these roles. I bring fun and frivolity to the parts. He is a pan-India phenomenon, and I am happy to be his hero for the second time.”