Urban storytellers

Meet the editors and contributors to Urban Shots: Brightlights, an anthology of urban tales by 12 young writers from across India

We tend to look at young Indian writers with a bit of contempt, due to their use of SMS language or because of the lack of seriousness in their themes. The book Urban Shots: Brightlights, edited by authors Paritosh Uttam and Ahmad Faiyaz, has however managed to maintain a fine balance between keeping the youth hooked and ensuring that the language is not compromised. 

Editors of Urban Shots: Brightlights Paritosh Uttam and 
Ahmed Faiyaz with the young writers from Pune 

Paritosh Uttam and Ahmed Faiyaz are best-selling Indian authors. But they haven't written for this book, except for one short story by Paritosh. The book is instead an anthology of urban tales by young writers, eight of whom are from Pune, and the book has been edited by the duo. 

Talking about his journey, Paritosh says, "I used to create comics in Calcutta -- the series was called Adventures of Timpa, based on the adventures of Tintin. I was fascinated by Tintin's character. My first novel Dreams in Prussian Blue did well and it sort of took off from there."

The book is made up of stories which were short-listed from a competition that was held across India. Among the 12 authors, eight of them are  from Pune. Avani Rajesh, a second year Mass Communications student, partnered with Pranav Mukul to write a story. Some of the other authors include Malcolm Carvalho, Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan, Anita Satyajit and Rohan Swamy who have written on genres ranging from romance to drama, horror, adventure and fiction. 

According to Ahmed Faiyaz, Urban Shots: Brightlights was an 'accident' but it has managed to garner a lot of attention in the few days that it has been out in the bookstores.

Avani says, "When we joined college, all of us had this fad to make a movie or a short film. So, Pranav and I started writing the script for our movie. Luckily or unluckily, the competition happened and our stories got published." 

Her co-writer Pranav adds, "We were already working on the script. There wasn't much we had to change to fit it in the genre of a short story. We didn't fight at all; we wrote our individual takes on the characters and compiled them later." For Avani and Pranav, being published at such a young age, hasn't changed much. They admit that they still have a lot of assignments to complete and want to build successful careers as writers.

The two youngsters feel that the book has opened new doors for them. Talking about choosing the stories for a competition, Ahmed says, "We wanted content from youngsters, but that does not mean we compromised with the quality. I may not be a purist but when it comes to writing I can't tolerate SMS language either."

With three editions of Urban Shots published and almost three more in the pipeline, it would be a crime if you wouldn't go and pick the book up from a bookstore near you. Not only is it a thrilling read but it also has a fresh take on different situations in life.
At All leading bookstores.

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