Our final call for today is for Mr. Harsh Warrdhan. He is an experienced person in the industry. Apart from the interaction with him in relation to the book, I got a chance to learn an important aspect related to the interview exercise on the blog as well. I will be implementing it soon!
Till then, just have a scoop of what he has to offer as an extra dose for the day…
BNI: Tell us something about yourself and your background.
HW: Necessity is the mother of discovering if one can write. While finishing my engineering, I was simultaneously applying for a film school in U.S. One of the requirements to securing an admission was to write an essay saying why they should accept me in the university. I wrote a 4 page long essay completely made up of Hollywood film titles. It started with ‘To Sir, with Love’, the 1967 Sidney Poitier film. Since I got accepted everywhere I applied, I thought I was a good writer. But, it was the fun I had while writing it that really kept me going back to writing. You can say, I am an accidental writer J
BNI: What inspired you to write your book ‘When Hari Met His Saali’?
HW: I had been writing screenplays for TV and films and writing a novel just expands the canvas to paint the stories. I love the scope as well as challenges of both. Since I went to America from a small town in India, I decided to incorporate my experiences around a fictional love story in the book.
BNI: A 30 word tagline for your book
HW: Set in Los Angeles and Nagpur, India, ‘When Hari Met His Saali’ is a funny, fresh, and outrageous look at young people and their dreams, longings, aches and heartbreaks. In a breezy, humorous narrative anchored around a magical twist, the story of Tia, Simi and Hari unfolds from romantic comedy into a climax full of suspense.
BNI: How did you come up with the title?
HW: The title is a word play on one of the most iconic Hollywood movie called ‘When Harry Met Sally’, a romantic-comedy, which was released 25 years ago. The romantic comedy was built around the question – ‘Can a man and a woman be just friends?’ Although, the theme of my book is different, it does ask questions of the fictional romantic ideas and expectations we all have from the opposite gender. I thought, the title could be a fun homage to the movie.
BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
HW: Although, I have been told that it is liked by all demographics, the book is most definitely targeted towards the youth, people who are in their 20’s, as it is a story of how the youth of India is obsessed with going abroad and how their perspective on life changes when they do manage to go. I guess, it appeals to the parents of such upwardly mobile youngsters as well. I can’t honestly say why a certain demographic would not like the book J
BNI: Who is your favourite character in the book? What makes them so?
HW: Tia Malhotra in When Hari Met His Saali is the best character I have written. As a writer she is my favorite but to the readers she wouldn’t be which was intentional. We all know people like Tia. They do all the wrong things for the right reasons. We admire their zest for life but we wouldn’t want them as a close friend. She’s the most admirably imperfect character I have created. In her fallacy she is the most realistic character of the story.
BNI: Share some interesting story about the book cover development.
HW: We made several mock covers before deciding on the final cover. I wanted it to compliment the title. Since the story is a love triangle, we used the elements from Romeo & Juliet and made it really bright and colorful. I had a feeling that after finishing the book, the reader would have a satisfying smile on their face and I wanted the cover to reflect that. Lots of hard work and determination went into designing it.
BNI: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
HW: More than a message, I would say, there’s a comment on how our society in today’s media and technology dominated lives affect our perceptions about love, romance and life itself. Our idea of what we expect from life has become virtual and fictional because the influences are virtual and fictional. In that context, readers can see their reflection as a third party observer. Of course, it is done with self-referential humorous narrative.
BNI: What are your thoughts on book series? Would you like to have one for your latest book?
HW: If the characters are well fleshed out and their journey still interesting, a book series is almost a given. Of course, it should not be forced, that is also a given. I don’t know about a series for ‘When Hari Met His Saali’ but the characters- Hari, Tia and Simi- are young and at a threshold of next phase of their lives at the end of the book, so a sequel is in the works. It’ll be fun to see if they learnt any lessons from the first outing and how they grow in their lives.
BNI: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
HW: I am very active on social media like Facebook and Twitter. And I love interacting with my readers. Apart from the compliments on the book, people give you honest feedback in terms of what they did not like. I trust the reader more than I trust editors. Also, since, I also do lectures in colleges, I get lot of enquiries about how to start a career in writing.
BNI: Which writers inspire you?
HW: Recently, Gillian Flynn has inspired me with her amazing ‘Gone Girl’. But early influences have been Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder of course.
BNI: ebook, pdf, mobi, kindle or printed hardcover book, what’s your pick?
HW: Printed hardcover is still my preference and least desirable, at least for a writer, is having their work read in pdf.
BNI: Thank you so much for accepting to be interviewed and sharing your experiences with the blog readers. Eager to read more from your desk!!!