The blunder specialist
Kiran Nagarkar loves a good laugh and it's a delight to indulge in a conversation with him about books and translations.
CS recently got a chance to meet the author, who’s written such gems as Ravan & Eddie, Cuckold and The Extras. Kiran was recently conferred Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit and was extremely happy to receive it. “The Germans have analysed many of my books in a way that has never been attempted in India,” he says. The author speaks about his high regard for translators, his process of writing and why he would love to have a film adaptation of his novel but not want to watch it!
Translations are not done in this country. And if any country needs translations, it is India. There are 22 major languages here. I happen to belong to the endangered species called the bi-lingual author. So, I’m very keenly aware of the fact that both English authors and regional ones look down upon each other. The regional authors pretend to be together, but they are not even interested in their neighbour’s writings and this is something that bothers me no end. I have a very high regard for translators. For me, they are the first globalisers. Just think how poor we would be if we didn’t know Shakespeare or Leo Tolstoy or Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Playing by instinct
There is absolutely nobody on the face of the earth who’s as lazy as I am (laughs). I would do anything not to get drawn into this thing called writing. On a serious note, there are a few books where I am clear about at least some stages of the story. For Ravan & Eddie, I had written the screenplay first. With Cuckold, I had no clue. I didn’t know where it was going. As you start writing, you either realise that something makes it richer or you realise that it’s not going to work. I admire and respect other authors who are so precise about what they want to do. My writings are half thought of and half instinctive. I specialise in blundering (smiles).
Keeping the spirit intact
Reviewers and readers have observed that my work is naturally cinematic, as there is so much visual element there. I would love to have a good film made on my novels. If a screen adaptation happens, I would like the spirit of the book to be there. Usually, when a work gets translated, it does look very different. Very rarely do you find that a film has been true to the subject as well as to the book. Nobody’s made a film on my works yet. I hope to God that I will be locked up somewhere when the film is released to prevent me from becoming violent! (laughs)