Sorabh Pant, the funny man who has been consistently rated as one of the top stand-up comedians in the country by multiple publications including ours, recently released his 3rd novel titled “Pawan: The Flying Accountant”.
What’s more? We got a chance to talk to the man himself about the same in an exclusive interview! So without further ado, read on:
ED: Sorabh, what inspired you to write your novel “Pawan: The Flying Accountant”?
Sorabh Pant: What was inspiring to me is that I find myself as person who works pretty hard in life but at the same time has a lot of reluctance to do anything, there’s a lot of cynicism and self judgement where at times, I’m anti social and I want to hang out with people at the same time.
Also, I feel we’ve been influenced by pop culture a lot and there a lot of superheroes who just fit into their job profiles flawlessly and immediately become what’s required of them! I found that extremely unrealistic and I wanted to write about a superhero who had no interest in saving others and himself and isn’t keen to be a hero, at all.
ED: Interesting! Please tell us about your journey. You recently tweeted that the novel took 5 years to complete. Any particular reasons why that happened?
Sorabh Pant: Yeah, I started writing about 5 years ago and I realized that the book needed a lot more research than I had anticipated. I wanted the story to be perfect (which I’m not saying it is, since every story as its flaws) and I wanted it to be well-researched and well thought out to an extent that I feel happy reading it.
Now, I think the novel is dark, it’s well researched and I like the characters in the book. There’s a lot of strange and weird stuff on the novel and I wanted to validate my primary character Arjun Singh’s actions and why he does the insane things which he does (including killing dictators, yes!).
This is my 3rd novel and this is the one where I feel I’ve got the narrative and writing process right and I believe that’s why it took longer to complete.
ED: Have you used any personal anecdotes or experiences in the novel? Is it categorically autobiographical in nature or purely fictional?
Sorabh Pant: There’s absolutely nothing real or autobiographical except a few historical mentions about the Indo-China war(s) and some information about Tibet. Other than that, the novel is purely fictional.
Even my opening chapter has a fictional account of Lord Mountbatten meeting my superhero’s father, way back in 1911! It baffled a couple of journalists as to how I found this account and I had to tell them that I made it up. Haha!
The novel is set in 2019 and has a scenario where 5 Prime Ministers rule the country and given the scenario of coalition government in our country, it might just become the reality in a few years down the line.
ED: Sounds amazing! What’s the story of the novel essentially about?
Sorabh Pant: The story is mainly about Arjun Singh who’s an accountant and he’s very good at his job. It starts off with some goons trying to kill him and he knows they can’t kill him because he’s invincible and immortal. He further realizes that all this was a ploy to get him recruited to a secret army or sorts which fights the wars which the normal Indian armed forces can’t fight.
So, Arjun is dragged into these unofficial wars which he doesn’t want to fight. He has a crush on a girl with 4 hands called Kelly Mathew (who is partly inspired by Maa Kaali, no offense to any religion) and it explores that emotional angle and essentially deals with Arjun’s journey as he wishes to find peace within himself.
ED: How is Pawan: The Flying Accountant different in terms of thematic depth and style as compared to your previous novels, The Wednesday Soul or Under Delhi?
Sorabh Pant: So, The Wednesday Soul was a fantasy/fictional book about what happens after you die and Under Delhi was much more linear. Mostly, my books are about just crazy stuff happening here and there but to put it in perspective, I understand that my books aren’t for everyone but my dad, who reads about a 1000 papers in a day liked The Wednesday Soul and Pawan, as well. So, there’s something or the other for everyone.
The depth is similar, lots of jokes and dark humor in the book and it’s similar in that space and I assure you, you’ll find the novel very different compared to any other novel by any Indian author out there.
ED: What was the toughest challenge which you faced while writing the novel?
Sorabh Pant: To tell the story without shoving in jokes at every point because when a comedian writes, you expect the story to be funny but you also don’t want the flow of the story to be broken.
ED: And how different is the tonality of Sorabh Pant in the novel compared to what we are used to seeing on stage or on Twitter?
Sorabh Pant: The tonality is similar as well as different, at the same time. The main intention is to write a novel and tell the story (whilst being funny) which is slightly tough because you want to write a story but at the same, I have to be funny and use jokes in my writing because that’s what my fans expect and I believe I’ve maintained that crucial balance throughout this novel.
Of course, it’s way better written than most of my tweets, haha!
ED: How would you say you’ve evolved as a writer after your last book?
Sorabh Pant: I believe the process was excruciating and fun at the same time and I know for a fact that the next thing I write will be a lot simpler and easy to digest, haha!
This was a very complex plot, like spider webs dangling towards one goal and the fact that I use terms like “spider webs dangling towards one goal” pretty much means I’ve evolved as a writer. I also realize I spent a considerable time trying to make this book good.
ED: Any future plans to take up writing full time or will stand up comedy always be your first priority?
Sorabh Pant: I don’t think I have any plans as of now to take up writing full time because my comedy career is going pretty well and let’s be honest, being a writer doesn’t pay you much. The advanced royalties I got from all 3 of my novels are probably enough to buy 1 copy about each of my books.
But you never know what life tells you so I’m open to anything!
ED: Lastly, a message for all your fans and the readers of ED Times.
Sorabh Pant: To the fans, just go out and pick up my novel, man! I’ve worked really hard on this book and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
I’m also on tour and I’m doing a bunch of shows in Bangalore and Delhi in 23rd and 24th, so do spread the word among your friends and come say Hi! Lot of new videos are coming up from my side on my YouTube channel and I’m really excited about it!
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen!
The ever-so-gracious Sorabh Pant in an all access interview about his book! Make sure you pick up his new novel “Pawan: The Flying Accountant” and follow him on his Facebook page and Twitter handle and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more exciting stuff!
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