Chetan Baghat, a rising star in the contemporary modern Indian literature, is a multitalented personality. He is a novelist, columnist, public speaker and a screenplay writer. His notable works include Five Point Someone, The 3 Mistakes of My Life and 2 States.Most of his literary works address the issues related to Indian youth and their aspirations which earned Baghat status of the youth icon.
On April 22, 1974, in Dehli, India, Baghat was born to a traditional Punjabi bourgeois family. His father served as lieutenant colonel in the Indian army while his mother worked in agricultural department of government. He received most of his education in his hometown. In 1978, he was enrolled in Army Public School and later attended the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Subsequently, he studied at Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and married a fellow student, Anusha Suryanarayanan, in 1998. Upon graduation, he moved to Hong Kong with his family, where he worked for eleven years with Goldman Sachs as an investment banker. On his return to India, he shifted to Mumbai from New Delhi. With the shift he also switched his career choice and embarked on his passion for writing.
While working as a banker he had already began to write manuscripts for his first two novels. His debut novel, Five Point Someone – What not to do at IIT!, was published in 2004. The story is centered on three mechanical engineering students with five point GP at IIT, where the author himself had once studied. It deals with the unfair grading system adopted by the higher education system which places students into higher and lower echelon based on their rote-learning skills. The story is narrated from the first person perspective of one of the friends in a light-hearted tone. Essentially, the book targets the ineffective and uninspiring teaching methods and evaluation system employed by the internationally recognized institutions. The author points out that such institutions merely produce a stock of engineers based on their ability to memorize everything that has been taught rather than encouraging students to tap into their creativity.
Five Point Someone instantly became both literary and commercial success. Baghat reached at the zenith of his popularity with his debut that was later turned into a critically acclaimed film titled, 3 Idiots (2009). It was followed by his second equally successful novel, One Night At A Call Center. In fact, it was adapted for big-screen as Hello and Baghat himself wrote the screenplay. However, the adaptation failed to capture audience’s attention and called a flop. In 2008, he penned The 3 Mistakes of My Life, which is based on the all-time favorite Indian sports, cricket. The novel garnered positive reviews and the film adaptation released in 2013, Kai Po Che!, became a hit.
Baghat’s fourth novel, 2 States: The Story of My Marriage, is a autobiographical novel that focuses on the prevailing issue of interstate marriage in India. It is based on Baghat’s and his wife’s own experience, who like the protagonist of the novel relentlessly tried to convince their respective families of different casts to approve of their marriage. The book highlights the conservative mindset shared by several sects in Indian states which prohibit marriage outside their cast. The book and its film adaptation was a major success. Baghat wrote two more books; Revolution 2020 (2011), and What Young India Wants (2012). Additionally, he received Society Young Achiever’ award, Publisher’s Recognition award and Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay.