Writing Is Immensely Gratifying, Says Kulpreet Yadav
Deccan Chronicle.| Reshmi AR
Kulpreet Yadav interview with Deccan Chronicle on his book Brahmaputra
Author Kulpreet Yadav
HYDERABAD: Just a generic tweet and an intent to explore fast-growing film industry from the south — Tollywood — did the magic for author Kulpreet Yadav over a year ago. The tweet led to collaboration between Kulpreet Yadav and Bahubali fame story writer Vijayendra Prasad, which resulted in a co-authored the novel, Brahmaputra: The Ahom Son Arises.
In an exclusive interview with Deccan Chronicle, Kulpreet talks about his life journey in uniform to becoming an actor. Excerpts from the interview.
Twenty years in uniform, co-founder of two startups, acting and author of 15 books. Which role gave you the most satisfaction?
For me, life has just started and there are so many things to do. But to answer your question, all these give me pleasure. More specifically, since I started to act only two years ago, that's closest to my heart now as that's my newest baby.
Was it easy to switch from uniform to civil life?
No, it wasn't. In uniform, trusting another man or woman in uniform is easy, but in civil life, people who meet you, get close to you, offer assistance etc., more often than not, have agendas. I have had my share of troubles, but I'm fine now.
What kind of freedom does writing give you?
Writing is immensely gratifying because you create your own alternate world complete with people, their problems, and solutions. As a writer, I can laugh with these characters, cry with them, learn with them, and grow as a human being. So, writing is not just a commercial activity to entertain and make money, but at a personal level, it also makes the writer more empathetic.
What's more challenging — writer's block or self doubt?
I've never faced writer block. Like everyone else though, there are times in my life when I don't feel emotional enough to write something. On such days / weeks / months, I don't write, instead, reading, or traveling, or watching movies, or even binge drinking with my friends. Self doubt is more frequent in comparison, but I think it is a strength rather than a weakness. At times when faced with self doubt, I reflect more, analyse deeply, go for a long walk, or travel alone until I'm back to trusting myself. It works. At Least for me.
Writers usually jet off to quiet places to get their inspiration and space to pen their thoughts. Is it impossible to think and write in a chaotic space?
Honestly, I can write no matter where I am. In fact, most of my writing is done in cafes and hotel rooms.
Have there been days when you were continuously writing without taking a break. If so, how long did that zeal last?
Yes, I have written a book in 15 days. Though after a month when I revisited it, I found it to be so bad that it took me six months of rewriting. Writing should be done at leisure, I think.
What keeps you going in such situations?
Well, sometimes the idea in your head tries to pull you along in a certain direction and you just go with the flow. That said, slower is better. So, I keep telling myself this, but I don't succeed all the time. It's like 'you' versus 'your thoughts', and depending on whose day it is, the pendulum swings.
What books did you read growing up... your favourite authors, both national and international
Oh, all sorts of books. Archies, Tintin, Laurel and Hardy, Asterix and Obelix, Chandamama, Phantom, Bahadur comics etc. In books, mostly thrillers, espionage and military fiction / nonfiction. Favorite writers were James Hadley Chase, Harold Robbins, Ian Fleming, Surender Mohan Pathak etc. In comics, Tintin was a favourite, with Captain Haddock being my top choice, not Tintin, the protagonist.
Was there a book that inspired you to become a writer?
One book that changed your life and another you hated the most.
Both none. But I want to say this -- I'm who I am because of the books I have read. Without reading, I can't even imagine what I would have been.
Now about your next book. Why did you choose this subject?
My new book is called 'Brahmaputra - The Ahom Son Rises'. I didn't choose this subject, the subject chose me. Rather, my co-writer Shri Vijayendra Prasad ji chose me.
Tell us more about the book
'Brahmaputra-1' is about Lachit Borphukan, the General of the Ahom Army and Navy, who fought numerous battles with Mughals over land, mountains, and river, but didn't lose any. It's a book that celebrates the glory, patriotism, and sacrifice of the brave Ahoms, the subject that's missing from our history books.
How did the collaboration with Vijayendra Prasad happen for Brahmaputra: The Ahom Son Arises?
I was in Hyderabad in early 2022 to explore the Telugu film industry. It was a blind visit as I didn't know a single soul in Hyderabad. Before arriving in Hyderabad, I tweeted that I will be there in the city for a week and if any producer / writer / director wants to meet me, I will be very happy. One of my friends in Mumbai, a director named Jaideep Sen, saw my tweet and called up Vijayendra Prasad ji. Later Jaideep called and shared his number. I called Vijayendra sir and he was very accommodating. We met the next day and to cut the long story short, now, 15 months later, the book is just days away from being released.
South, Northeast and East history is often ignored. What could be the reason?
I don't think it is intentional. Allow me to explain. India is a beautiful country, diverse but united. North India, particularly North-West India, faced numerous wars because all the invaders arrived through the Hindu Kush mountains and their expedition left lakhs dead or wounded. Kingdoms were razed to the ground and rebuilt again every few hundred years. That's why there are more books from the region. But, now that most of those stories have been told, everyone is looking to explore more about the rich past of other areas of India.
Why do you think period dramas are getting more popular now? What's causing this new trend?
I think because there is a certain mystery attached to them, beside the fact that they are larger than life. Further, stories are mediums that help us either escape or learn. Since there is an overdose of learning in our professional lives and due to social media taking over our lives, people are turning towards films / books only to escape. If I can put it in another way, period dramas pluck us from our life that has been crowded by people, information, gadgets, and disease, and put us in a place where winning and losing is all that matters -- people find this more exciting and adventurous. I might be wrong here though.