One of the best books I have read so far this year has been #TheWrongTurn Review and I was eager to understand how the authors – Namita & Sanjay created this book with its mesmerising situations, suave characters and a timeline that gave me a heady doze of nostalgia and patriotism.
Welcome to the blog!
What has been your guiding light to achieve the balance that makes The Wrong Turn a perfect blend of facts about Netaji & Azad Hind Fauj and a fictional romance? Any ideas or mantras you followed to find this balance?
Facts and fiction – all stories are a blend of them, aren’t they?
We make up stories about fictional human beings but set them in a specific period of history. In historical fiction, we also involve real people, isn’t it? By that token, all fiction – except for science fiction and fantasy – is in a sense historical. Pocahontas is historical. The Godfather is historical. The English Patient is historical. Ismat Chugtai’s stories are historical.
A writer chooses a specific time, a culture, a political context in which to tell a story. Maybe the only difference is that you have “real people” also appearing in “historical fiction” and so have to be more careful with your “facts”. Anyway, as I said earlier, we chose this particular span of history because it fascinated us. And we asked what could have gone wrong in Kohima? Was it politics – or that old culprit, love, which led to such betrayal? So the twin themes of love and betrayal, regret and redemption, forgetting and memory, came up as the engine of the story. I also wanted to portray the human side of Netaji and the “boys” of the INA.
I wanted to bring alive those incredible times, the tragedy of what was attempted and lost. And that could only happen if the reader “saw” those long gone historical events and characters vividly through the eyes of people we could love and hate and root for.
All the main characters are very young, barely out of their teens, caught up in the sweep of history, being asked to make incredible sacrifices. We knew people would want to know what happened to them, why it happened.
I asked myself can I, through this tale of betrayal create fresh, compelling characters that readers get hooked onto? Can I create a new truth, a new way of looking at history contrary to what we have been fed? Can I, through this tale of star-crossed lovers, bring a new understanding of the human condition?
So while the history was important, we didn’t want it to be a dull, boring recounting of events. It had to be a cracker of a tale, sweeping you up in the hurly-burly of a race against time and moving inexorably to an inevitable end, reading like a thriller.
I hope it engages you and pleases you.
Thank you so much. The book is soon to be a motion picture and I look forward to seeing it onscreen. Wonder who gets to play the debonair Debraj?
My best wishes and hope to read the next book soon.
During a school project on ‘The most memorable day of my life’, NAMITA ROY GHOSE wrote about a Russian girl on the day WW2 ended. She got her first rejection slip from the teacher for making things up. Ever since, Namita has established her storytelling skills through her scriptwriting, screenplays poetry, fiction, legendary advertising campaigns, and as a renowned advertising film director. A Creative Director with HTA, she left after 13 years to start her own film company, White Light, one of India’s top ad film outfits. A social activist, she is the founder of Vanashakti, an NGO that works to protect the environment. Namita has done pro bono work on issues like domestic violence, child welfare, sexual harassment and forest preservation. She is an avid traveller, a photographer, foodie and teacher.
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