Interview about the creative process

One of my good friends, Mr R. Sridhar runs a creativity workshop company called IdeaZrs. Mr Sridhar used to head O&M India earlier, one of India’s top advertising agencies. After a fantastic career there, he set up this firm that tries to unravel creativity and the human mind. As part of that, he took a probing interview with me, asking questions I have never been asked before, and I had to spend a lot of time thinking answers to.

That interview is now available online, and the link is here.

I hope you enjoy it. Apart from the answers, I think the questions may also be inspiration to aspiring journalists who conduct regular interviews.




Leave a Comment

  1. vipin says:

    Hay Chetan

    Very very nice interview.I find your vision, contemporary and people like you is good for this country,my country. Keep up the good work. Some day ours will be the best country in the world ,Well it doesnt matter in comparison. With the biggest population. hope ours become a peaceful and strong country

  2. Alex says:

    Oh! A ceratin Mr. writer manipulate comments too!

    What was that comment that you deleted Mr. Bhagat?

  3. Sukesh Patel says:

    a succesful book is not enough to make a movie like 3I, your thoughts are Rubbish..get a LIFE

  4. Abhishek says:

    hi Chetan Sir,

    The interview was really a riveting one. As for me ,I hate reading novels but I love reading business related stuffs,biographies and autobiographies for they are thought-provoking and inspirational.
    So,when one of my friends recommended me to read “Five Point some One”,I was quite…lets say not interested.But when I began reading it,my whole perception changed and from that day I became a real fan of your literary works.Sir, you are really a literary genious.
    Except, for “One Night at Call centre”,I have read all your books.
    The good thing about your literary works is that a reader can easily relate to the the characters potrayed.I refuse to call your works as mere “Fiction” for they are very much related to real life incidents.So what next?? I am eagerly waiting for your next book.
    I have a suggestion infact a request please do write a book on challenges faced by people working in IT sectors.For I am from that background too.It will be bound to attract a lot of attention.
    Thanks sir, keep going and keep writing…ALL the best and Happy New Year

  5. Chandralekha says:

    I fully support Chetan Bhagat,against the Bollywood Gang !
    It seems to e a real jungle out there.
    Difficult for real creative people to survive.
    Aamir Khan seems to be making a habit of stealing other people’s hard work–just on the super ego of him being a Super star, first Amol Gupte in Taare Zameen Par,and now FPS. Shame on him. Why doesnt he just stick to acting.
    Really disappointed in him.

  6. HARDIK says:


  7. Avinash says:

    U rock!!!!!!!!!The interview suggests why u are the only person in the literally world who is increasing his fan base day by day….and the whole interview does not talk about the 3 IDIOTS controversy and the way u took the plot (The old man and the young receptionist )that shows u are the original creator of 3 IDIOTS i bet a million that no BOLLYWOOD guy could have thougth as u did

  8. sandeep says:

    can you please respond to this ?

  9. sandeep says:

    aren’t like agreements to be honoured?

  10. Arunabh Chatterjee says:

    Just wanted to share this article from Tehelka

    No Point Someone

    Make no soppy mistake. Chetan Bhagat is no creative underdog, says RISHI MAJUMDER

    THERE IS A distinction between legal fact and legal fiction. The agreement entered into between “Vinod Chopra Films Pvt Ltd” and “Mr Chetan Bhagat” on the “1st day of September, 2005” is legal fact. Bhagat has not rescinded the agreement. He has acknowledged the receipt of “Rs 90,000 after TDS deduction” on “21st November 2009” and “Rs 9,00,000 after TDS deduction” on “16th December, 2009” as full consideration for rights he granted to Vinod Chopra Films Pvt Ltd in this agreement. These are legal facts too.

    The same agreement obligates Vinod Chopra Films Pvt Ltd to “accord credit to the Author (Bhagat) in the rolling credits of any audio visual image software produced in terms of the exercise and execution of the Rights herein granted” in the following words: “Based On The Novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat”. Vinod Chopra Films Pvt Ltd has fulfilled this obligation, and this is where legal fiction begins. What happened between Chetan Bhagat and Rajkumar Hirani, the director of 3 Idiots, whether Bhagat read the script and watched the film, how much his mother cried, and how disappointed his fans are on having missed the credit accorded to him, are legally irrelevant details, spun around the legally relevant ones.

    And Bhagat is the master of selling fiction, via two devices – celebrity and the Internet. The celebrity, of Bhagat and those associated with 3 Idiots, has led to the aforementioned legally irrelevant details being discussed on every possible media – newspapers, television and the world wide web. The Internet, on the other hand, has provided Bhagat the lovely opportunity of initiative. He has blogged and tweeted out the same details, confusing those he can’t convince, without being questioned on the details by the media.

    A star controversy, engineered to publicise a film, is commonplace Bollywood formula. Bhagat has turned this formula on its head. He has engineered a controversy around a film to publicise himself. Evidence of how effective his ploy is lies in the fact that book sales for Five Point Someone have jumped by 15 to 20 percent since the film’s release.

    But maybe stealing spotlight, and sales, is all one can do with a producer who promises a writer a lakh of rupees for a film that is expected to make over a hundred crores, and filmmakers who make statements suggesting a film is “only two to five percent inspired” by a book it is declaredly based on. If Bhagat has been Bollywoodised, then perhaps Bollywood is to blame.

    BUT WHAT stands out, amidst what is right and wrong, legal and illegal, is the pettiness on public display. A Bollywood producer who shouts at reporters during a press conference, a writer who goes on and on about the font size, placement and nature of credit he has been given in a film, and fans who follow a writer like a cult would – more concerned with his status in the film world than his quality of writing.

    All of this has been caused by a book and a film — both of which claim to stand for individuals being recognised for themselves and not by the results they wrestle in the rat race, the credits they get or give away. It has been caused by five point no ones, refusing to practice what they preach.
    From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 02, Dated January 16, 2010

  11. Abul Shorif says:

    Hello Chaten,

    from my point of view…..i think either chethan hasn’t read the contract well(which he has signed 3 years b4 from now) or he is just lieying. In both the ways the contract is a valid and a legal document. if there is no such a clause or terms in the contract that he sold the story completely, then he can have a debate or arguement or else…like vidhu vinod chopra said “SHUT UP”

  12. monir shah says:

    if chetan baghath had sold out the story, they why is asking the credictability of the movie? i mean its ok…but since he already signed the contract…he has no right to demand a credict.its all 3 years hard work of rajkumar hirani and his boys and just adopting 5-10% of 5PS doesnt make a movie sucess…there are a lot of other factors to do. And i dont think chethan has any contribution with that.

  13. Nilima says:

    Hi Chetan,

    I have read Five point someone and 3 Mistakes of my life. Both the books are wonderful. 3 Idiots is at least 75% based on your novel. I support you and you must fight for getting the due credit of your writings. I am still not able to understand why Amir Khan is so hesitant to give you the credit. It seems he has been doing it for last 3 films. He did not acknowledge Amol Gupte for Tare Zamin Par and Gajhani was based on Memento. Make sure that you straighten things out when you start working on 3 Mistakes of my Life.
    I saw your interview on IBN. You shouldn’t have apologized to their families. If they are getting distrssed or not should not be the issue here. It is business and one has to fight for justice if it is not done properly.


  14. Prakash says:

    well Praveen, he started the controversy by involving media. And do not include me in your whole world. I do not agree with him. You can stay in the world and moonlight Chetan Bhagat.

  15. Prakash says:


    he apologized because he would have been sued otherwise. His contract with the filmmakers is clear cut and there is no ambiguity. He got what was specified in the contract.

  16. sunil rajoriya (sharma) says:

    Very nice and inspiring interview, really.

  17. sunil rajoriya (sharma) says:

    Mr. Bhagat,

    More comments give satisfaction to writer.
    But positive comments work like Glucose intake.
    Number of comments depend on “Massala” provided in the matter.
    Bloger knows – how he/she can earn more comments.
    High profile dispute also works.

    What next?

    Wud u like to comment/reply?

  18. Anubhav Nangia says:

    Hi Sir :)
    this is some really good stuff!
    @Maojkumar :- Indians are not the biggest hypocrits in the world. I don’t know who told u that ! I live in Dubai and everyday whenever i see a group of American guys of my age ( Im 16 ) walking by, they shout out weird stuff.
    We sir, for your alacrity, are one of the most , is not the most, traditional and moral people you will ever find. Belive e that when it comes from a NRI. Ofcourse, you are entitled to your own views.

    @Anusha I absolutely agree. Yesterday I was at the Magrudy’s store in Dubai and found two indonesians reading 2 States..That kinda made me proud to be an Indian after all the trauma in Australia thats on the news !

    And people..i want to tell you all that im 16..i hae written a few chapters for a book that I want to publish maybe in 2-3 years. I need feedback as I don’t have alot at the moment. If your on Chetan Bhagat’s blog I’m confident you guys can help me out.
    Please contact me if you are willing to review a few samples :-
    [email protected]..
    Sir, hope you don’t mind me using this platform to a benefit :)

    Thanks a ton..and you will always rock !
    PS- Please write a blog about your trip to Ahmedabad! Have been following it on twitter. Bu 140 words ain’t enough !!

    Take care everyone.

  19. Ryan says:


    good interview buddy

  20. rahul sarkar says:

    hey Mr. Author i just read your book 2-states & i loved it to core…….plz keep writing i am your die-hard fan & read 4 books of yours…….u can make a great movie on 3-Mistakes…. & i must tell you, you are not as smart as u thinking, u should have been careful b4 allowing them you adapt your book,
    there were 10/15 scenes which were exactly similar to the book
    …like kareena giving keys to aamir
    2. suicide of sherman
    3. suicide of kareena’s brother
    4. aamir calling kareena from her dad’s office
    i loved ur book 10 times more than the film & i can relate 200% with it as me too a 5 point some-one

  21. Swati says:

    Hi Chetan Sir,
    Well, a hell lot of has happened..and we all fans are with u..even if u don’t get time to read all comments on ur posts, we’ll write…to increase its nos. than b4.
    U [email protected]@!!

  22. ajay says:

    Please readers go through this beware of this guy

  23. ajay says:

    Chetan Bhagat is LIAR
    Please reader go through this

  24. ajay says:

    Chetan Bhagat is LIAR … It’s very important to stop such people
    Please reader go through this

  25. mohammed says:

    chetan sir
    great advice……..would luv to follow…
    thank u…

  26. Ritesh Anand says:

    @ Ajay and other CB bashers

    Whatever points you have mentioned in your site or VVC mentioned in the pdf file in his blog is nothing more than decorative pieces to decorate an already build home.

    By mentioning these few instances you are admitting that rest is from FPS and this is not an assumption, it’s a fact actually.
    Yes, STORY of three idiots is prepared upon FPS and if you will give some other writer as of now may be he can come with more funny instances and more decorations but the FACT of origionality will still remain.

    FPS is not only foundation but the basic building blocks plus corner pillors which provide strength to build a skyrapper on it.

    Some ppl mentioned that FPS got 10-15% sales increase after the controversy, But why u forgot the FPS story is what they converted into a beautiful movie with some DECORATION and not to mention earning here.

    And yes I admire Aamir as a great artist but no more as a good human being as he pretends to.

    Not acknowledging FPS for a base for their story is like not acknowledging you father because he is/was not as smart or as rich or as successful or as powerful as of you.

    Ritesh Anand

  27. Quasar66 says:

    I read this nice piece of blog and thought of sharing with you…

    These days, every second person I meet, asks me one perennial question- Have you seen the movie Three idiots? However, before I could reply, they throw a bucket of advisory superlatives [another perennial object] on me- You must watch, it is an excellent, brilliant, superb-dooperb movie. “Not yet, I have though read the book and loved it too”, is my defense missile until I met Khanna aunty one day and this conversation started-

    “The book”? Oh, the movie is not as same that book, it is in news also. That Producer guy was so loud; he said “shut up to the journalist”. How outrageous these film people are”.

    “Aunty, he just said shut up to a person in fit of emotional turbulence. It is just a plain shut up… “No no, how dare someone can say shut up to media yaar! If media shuts up, all these films will shut down [and vice versa]. These filmmakers have grown too big for their boots; they live on the money that we pay to watch their stupid movies, download some ringtones, merchandizes etc. But this 3 idiots movie was nice ha. Nevertheless, that does not mean a producer can humiliate any journalist that way”.

    “True, I agree aunty but the poor chap, he has apologized to media later”. “Yes he is a poor chap; see what that publicity hunger writer bhagat singh is doing to him. He is claiming the movie to be his own story and trying to earn more money for his paperback books”.

    “Aunty his name is Chetan Bhagat and he is not wrong, as the story is taken from his book only. Moreover, he is one of best selling Indian author and may not need such a cheap publicity”. [Producer of VVC films is poor. Since when?]

    “No- no beta, you do not know these people. He already took big fat money from the producers and now the movie is super hit, he is black mailing to get more money and awards. That munnabhai guy wrote this story. What is his name I forgot, ya Raju Chopra. Is he Yash chopra’s brother?”

    “His name is Abhijat Joshi and he has written the screenplay for the movie. The basic plot however, is from the book. By the way, have you read the book aunty? It was an amazing book”.

    “No, no who has such time to read such big books on engineering colleges. They said on TV that the movie very different from that book”. “Who said that movie is different from the book, aunty? Media is on author’s side”

    “Arre, Media to kuch bhi bolti hai. Aamir khan is saying and I know, Amir Khan is never wrong. See he saved poor Indian farmers from paying tax to British, helped poor mental child and even fought that Ghazini villain who killed his girl friend. He is so cute.”

    … read further, pl click-

  28. Namrata says:

    Hey Chetan,
    Now i am happy to tell you that i can be one among the 20 million because i finally got by VOTERS CARD after struggling for it for 4 years…..Now i can vote. Yeah!!!
    Good one.

  29. Gouthaman Karunakaran says:

    The part where you develop the hypothetical story was wonderful. Your lines ‘cynicism has no answer’ is very true. You answered the question involving the elitists very well. Hats off. Hoping to interview you one day!

  30. tushar says:

    @manoj Kumar I pity manoj.may be he s frm pak

  31. Raghunath Mahalingam says:

    I fully agree with you about the mystique of the creative process – it is hard to decompose and distil as a scientific series of steps that one must follow – it works very differently for each person. The only common element in almost all cases is the amount of time or thought one spends worrying about a particular idea wherein our subconscious self takes over and almost magically formulates the end product – whether it is a formula or theory or story, this seems to be the common thread.

    Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the interview and insights across a range of different topics. Your responses are simple, cogent and many ideas are as powerful as those in all your novels.

  32. Shatabdi Sarangi says:

    Hi Chetan,
    The interview is really awesome…the questions asked by Mr.Sudhir are nice. The question he asked about philoshopy is very good & i like you saidf about it..
    Keep uo the good work!!!
    Take Care..

  33. Siddharth says:

    Hey Chetan… The interview was very insightful. I now feel I can connect to you more. Thanks for posting it

  34. Lovina Srivastava says:

    Hi Chetan,

    I am one of your very recent fans. Read ‘Five point someone’ in December and watched the movie ‘3 idiots’ in the New Year. Cannot tell you how well I connected with the story….having studied Engineering to fulfill my parents dream, without even thinking once what I wanted to do. I guess I was too busy flipping through the text book pages.

    Loved your book and loved your interview with Sridhar. You are right!! The questions are extremely intelligent and inspiring. I do not remmeber reading another interview like this one, at least in the recent past.

    I am glad I clicked on the link. :-)


  35. bharat bhushan says:

    hi Chetan,

    your thoughts are amazing
    Thank you for spreading this knowledge.

  36. Vivek Sharma says:

    hi chetan , i saw in jabalpur on 06.02.2010. u r realy fabuluous. i salute ur creativity & oractical approach towards fulfilling ones dream. thanks

  37. Arvind Kumar says:

    @ Anubhav Nangia….!!!

    You have no idea what you’ve done… I moved in to Dubai a week back and eversince I knew 2 states was out, I wanted to buy it. And day before yesterday I decided I’ll buy it on my off which is today. Mind you, I work on nights! And I happened to read your post last night – trying to flirt with Anusha, you quoted – “@Anusha I absolutely agree. Yesterday I was at the Magrudy’s store in Dubai and found two indonesians reading 2 States..That kinda made me proud to be an Indian after all the trauma in Australia thats on the news ! ”

    After my shift at 9 AM, I was in Burjuman centre @ 9.30, waiting for the Magrudy’s to open. When they opened, they confirmed the only book they ever had of Chetan was 1 night.. Not even fps.. He even browsed through his database and confirmed that 2 states was never there in Magrudy’s. He suggested me to go to Dubai Mall – Kinokuniya. And guess what? Jus like how i had trusted u, i trusted that filipino n went all the way to DM.. Shocks! Kinokuniya guys never ever saw a book called 2 states till date. Checked out the Magrudy’s there as well.. No Luck! Jus coz U wanted to flirt around, u spoiled half of my day off! I know I’m an Idiot to trust on those words n go all the way. But now atleast everybody else knows u r a story teller too! Now I doubt if the work that u claim to be ur’s is ur’s or not!


  38. Just thought i would comment and say neat design, did you code it yourself? Looks great.

  39. Ed Kitchen says:

    Hi, i must say fantastic website you have, i stumbled across it in Yahoo. Does you get much traffic?

  40. rupinder says:

    u r fantastic chetan!!

  41. anuja says:


    ur fantastic.i like ur thoughts i like to read ur novel more n more ur amazing person

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