"Salesman by day, writer by night" is what the “About Me” section of Diptakirti Chaudhuri's popular blog reads. Taking its name from the popular Amitav Ghosh novel, the Calcutta Chromosome is by far one of the most exhaustive collections of Bollywood trivia that one can come across on the web.
1. Cricket followed by Bollywood. What completes the holy trinity?
People who don’t know me suggest I should write about Politics – which completes the Indian trinity of obsession. My friends tell me I should write about Food – which my personal trinity of obsession. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I have no knowledge (or lasting interest) in either subject for a full-blown book.
2. Have you considered movie reviewing as a part-time career option?
Yes. And decided I cannot do it. Writing about indifferent movies week after week is not something I can sustain (though a year like 2012 gives me hope).
3. Food fiction such as the likes of Chocolat by Joanne Harris is generally not considered as good fiction in India. What's your take on this?
4. Any plans for a full blown fiction novel?
A Bengali intellectual aka aantel (a unisex term) is equally comfortable with Feluda and Derrida, coffee and Kaifi, mis-en-scene and Messi. He has a day job he hates and lives for his passions. He is erudite, passionate about his eclectic choices and usually sarcastic. He loves to subtly display his knowledge and dislikes crass display of wealth. Quite tragically, he is becoming increasingly rare.
He influences me a lot. For my blog posts, I often copy his style. He is very kind enough to say that he likes my writing but I certainly don’t influence either his content or his style.
We come from very similar family backgrounds, grew up in the same city (and studied in the same college) at the same time and have similar tastes in movies and music. I think that’s what makes our content somewhat similar and often to thoughts about influencing.
7. When's the sequel for Kitnay Aadmi Thay coming out?
As soon as I can find a publisher. And of course, I have to write it!
8. Would it be called “Jo darr gaya, Samjho mar gaya” or “Holi kab hai”? Or do you have anything else in mind?
I don’t know where it started. I used to love a Book of Lists (written by Amy and Irving Wallace) when I was a kid. I was great friends with people in college who were always making lists about cricket (“all-time ODI XI for India”), food (“street food of Cal to eat in a day”) and books (“best Bengali short stories”). Probably all that practice turned to Bollywood when I decided to write the book.
14. Five people you would recommend for their knowledge of Bollywood trivia (and their social media handles)
15. Five movies/ books you do not want (or secretly want) your Valentine to come across.
Thank you very much Mr. Chaudhuri for taking out time from your busy schedule for this interview with Indiabookstore. We wish you all the best for your next potential bestseller.
Avishek Basu Mallick
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