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After being at the receiving end of criticism from the noted playwright Girish Karnad during the Mumbai Literature festival, Nobel Laureate V S Naipaul has thanked him for bringing his work to the attention of the masses.
“I have been sick of receiving pretentious garlands of appreciation for my books though they are not read by mango people,” said VS Naipaul, “I mean, I know it makes people look intelligent to buy my books to decorate their living room cupboards, but how many have actually managed to read them? When it comes to reading, readers would rather go gaga over that masala novelist Chetan Bhagat or the erotic fare Shobha De churns out. And yes, that reminds me that women aren’t good writers. I thought after I won the Nobel Prize in literature, I would sell more books than Bhagat, but alas, no such luck.
Such is the hypocrisy that a question about me could feature well in the 1st or 2nd question, a relatively easy set in Kaun Banega Crorepati, but a question about my books would well be positioned as the 15th question worth 5 Crores. In fact, I was so frustrated that I had decided to participate in an online ‘Story Contest’ in the name of some other writer, and even that was not read by readers.”
He continued, “So, when Girish Karnad characterized my books to be anti Muslim, he actually roused interest in readers to scrutinize my written books, or at least know their names and themes. This is something even my ‘Nobel’ status has not done so effectively. I am now looking forward to getting grilled by Arnab Goswami. And after Sagarika Ghosh criticizes me for being non–secular, I would be categorized as a ‘sane writer’ for being anti-polar with her and probably that would increase the sale of my books too. Who knows, I may be even given a ticket by the Conservative Party in London, or better yet, be called as a guest in Bigg Boss House! So, I think Girish’s harsh comments have been a blessing in disguise. Thanks dude!”
Girish Karnad has gracefully accepted his gratitude. “Its okay buddy! The whole episode has helped me make the leap from being a critically acclaimed playwright to a commercial artist. So many people now have got to know me. Befoe this, I was relegated to playing bit roles in movies like ‘Ek tha Tiger’ and ‘Dor’. Now, I am flooded with offers to take over the niche vacated by Anupam Kher,” noted the author of ‘Tughlaq’.