One hit can spawn an industry. Maybe, not an industry, a segment of an industry at least. Remember, the Alisha Chinai song “Made in India” in the ’90s whose success created the Indipop genre. The Indipop formula was simple , a romantic song with mushy lyrics, packaged and sold through a music video, often acted by models turned actors. Indipop even gave competition to the mainstream bollywood songs. Even several regular playback singers, like Sonu Nigam, Abhijeet, Kumar Sanu tried their hands at this genre. Similarly, Daler Mehndi, with his first album “Bolo Tara ra ” created the Punjabi Pop genre.
Chetan Bhagat’s book “Five Point Someone” seems to have created a new genre in books. Call it ILIT or Chetlit or Campuslit . In my recent visit to the neighbourhood bookstore, I saw an entire shelf full of titles from this genre. Fiction set in campuses either IIT or IIM with some hostel experiences, romance, ragging and fictionalised events of teacher-student interactions thrown in. This genre has now gone beyond IIT and IIM to other campuses like DCE, JNU, Medical college and what have you. All have “National Bestseller” written on top and have below-average printing and artwork. Most are published by unknown publishers and are priced at a reasonable Rs 100-Rs 150.
This trend has been spotted and written about by several bloggers like KCGadiyar, TheViewspaper,Wandering thoughts etc. Mainstream media like The Telegraph and The Open Magazine have also covered this trend. Pretty much what I had to say about this genre has been written by them.
I have not read any of the books, nor am I qualified to comment on their literary merit. Yet, I can guess that if too many people with little or no entry barriers jump into a bandwagon, there will be excesses, which will lead to the killing of the idea itself. If nothing succeeds like success, nothing fails like excess. Just like Indipop or Punjabi pop did not last long, my fear is that this ILIT genre will also not last long.
P.S :- In my visit to the bookshop, I also noted several books from one of these ILIT books to biographies to Management to Indian economy books having some recommendation by Infosys founder Narayana Murthy. Excess ?