From Taj Mahal to Sonagachi, Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s hero looks for love everywhere

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You can call it unconventional in India or a step towards breaking stereotypes, but Sreemoyee Piu Kundu is happy with what she has done with her latest work, You’ve Got The Wrong Girl – a Hachette India publication in the lad lit genre of fiction writing. In this quick-read page-turner, she’s ventured in the ‘male-mind’ to see how it works in matters of love and fame.

Dushyant Singh Rathore, the writer-hero of the book, makes love with an unknown girl under the open sky with Taj Mahal standing tall in the backdrop. Years later, in order to establish the woman’s identity and get her back in his life, this metrosexual man travels from Delhi to Agra to Jodhpur, Jaipur, Sonagachi and back – only to realise that the world understands him better than he does himself. In an interaction with us, the former lifestyle editor and PR head opens up a little more about her life and work:

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You’ve mentioned in the book that the character of Dushyant Singh Rathore, the hero of the book, is somewhat based on a love interest of yours in the past – how close is the resemblance of the two?
The physicality of Dushyant was like that of this person I loved. He was not a writer. But it was definitely interesting for me to make this comparison between a real life and reel life character.

There is a good deal of factual reference to Sonagachi, NGOs working in that area, relations of publishers-authors in the book, among other things… What percentage of this work of yours is inspired by real life episodes and characters?
One is always inspired by what one sees around and so am I. I was drawn to the idea of exploring those real life characters in this book whom one can see doling out gyaan on love, romance, politics and almost anything they can on, whose books sells for RS. 99… Take a scoop on them and present it here.

Are you pointing towards Chetan Bhagat?
Yes, I am pointing towards the like of him… Chetan Bhagat, Durjoy Dutta…

Given the kind of real life similarities the book has, was there any research behind this work?

No. This is purely a work of fiction so no research went in to it. It is just out of my imagination. But as a young girl and later too, I had read about the mythological character of Shakuntala (from Abhigyanam Shakuntalam) – one reads it in comics like Amar Chitra Katha and otherwise too. I wanted to reverse the gender roles in it and see what happens. I wanted to turn it in to a lad lit and see the man’s perspective of it. So that’s what I did in the book.

On a good number of occasions in the book, your hero Dushyant has been lent a hand by women to get up or down the stairs etc. Does such a thing really happen or is it only a part of lad lit?
It is not unusual for this to happen in reality. It does happen quite a lot in fact. I have male friends who are equally emotional too. It’s just about getting in a man’s head to see what he thinks like. We – most people that is – don’t see such things happening as we live in a male-bashing feminist society.

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How difficult is it to become an author?

It’s all about following your passion I think. It is not easy to find a publisher, true. But then today you have options such as literary agents whom you can hire as middlemen between you and the publisher to help sell your work.

What do you think of the way in which the concept of novel is changing- elaborate launches, books that critics say contribute nothing to literary world yet popular with readers, etc? Your hero Dushyant has faced these subjects in You’ve Got the Wrong Girl too…

As far as elaborate launches go, it’s fair as far as the publisher is paying for it. And about not contributing to the world of literature – well, who are we to decide whether a book should be worth reading or publishing or not? So as far as there is demand of a book, there are readers of a work, it should be published.

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Tell us a little about your personal life. How did you get your name?

Well, I am a Bengali. Sreemoyee is my good name, Piu my nickname – that’s what they call me at home, and Kundu is from my parents (N. Krishna Rao and Sushmita Kundu-Rao). I am single and live with my parents in Delhi.

What are you working on currently?

I am researching and writing my next book – Status Single. It’s about the status of single women in India. I am yet not sure when it will get completed or published!

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