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The Job Charnock Riddle is written as a visual treat: Victor Ghoshe

The Job Charnock Riddle is written as a visual treat: Victor Ghoshe

India Blooms News Service | 22 Jan 2016, 09:22 pm
An international communication expert by profession, Victor Ghoshe loves art and its different manifestations. In Kolkata to promote his latest novel, his first in English, The Job Charnock Riddle, a historical thriller, Ghoshe opens up about the book and his 6-year long journey to get it published, in a chat with IBNS correspondent Sudipto Maity
What genre does your new book follow?

It’s a research based historical thriller.

While writing a piece like this one, who do you have in mind as your target audience?

This type of thrillers has a vast audience where age is no bar. It’s a kind of 'a matter of taste' you can say…that connects people from all age groups and classes and drive for something common.

Also I’m sure whenever we try to bridge the past and present with a make belief passage, someone somewhere gets offended. Were you ever scared of evoking such sentiments?

I thought of that at the initial stage of plot development of TJCR and I knew in my mind that some people, somewhere might get offended with portions of my book; but then again the urge and responsibility of telling the story was so strong I never allowed those thoughts to appear in my mind again.

Now that you have it published, do you plan to take up writing full time?

I do not know yet. I love my ‘’Communication for development’’ work, which takes me to almost everywhere and to everybody in (and out) of this country. This actually gives me an opportunity to meet and know people who all are so different……  and which is very important to me for my writing. I actually think I can’t leave my work to take up writing full time - not at this point in time.

When did the idea first hit you? How did all happen?

In 2010 I was a Sr Adviser in the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, The Govt Of India. On a certain training supervision trip I was flying to Arunachal Pradesh and on my way I read this old research work on Kolkata by Radharaman Roy. I was so intrigued by the time and the people and a Kolkata which is almost forgotten - I wanted to write a novel about old Kolkata. But as an honest writer I decided to put the idea on the backburner and promised myself to only touch it when I would be able to give proper time. Initially I didn’t decide the genre, but slowly as I started to study the period I figured many gaps in the written history and thought of making it a historical thriller with a pinch of conspiracy and lots of adventure.

While conducting your research, you must have come across multiple strange and exciting cases. Could you please share some?

There were plenty actually – but the most fascinating one was about the dig at Charnock’s grave, which was orchestrated by Father HB Hide after 200 years of Charnock’s death. There is a report which neither mentions the purpose of digging, nor records names of people who were involved in the dig other than Fr. Hide. It is a mystery by itself till date.

Are you planning a sequel, a series?

Actually my publisher find this book so interesting and marketable he already has made an agreement with me for my next 2 books. So I have to write at least two more books in this series.

Is it easier to write about Kolkata?

Umm. Yes! If you have walked around the city well enough, if you have pedalled your cycle through the narrowest of the alleys of Kolkata and if you have made friends with the different classes of people of Kolkata, then yes - it is easy to write about Kolkata.

You have already written two books in Bengali. Why did you decide to write your third in English?

For a larger audience. For people whom I see day in day out in different departure lounges at different airports, scanning through the thriller section.

Were you scared that a book in Bengali will not do well? If that’s the case, why? Being a communications expert, tell us why is it so?

I have studied the market through the launch of my 2 earlier books and figured people who read Bengali literature – they generally do not wish to try new authors. I have observed that people in a Bengali section of any book store would not even look at the books by the new writers.

Anik Dutta almost offered you the film, if he does manage it, do you have the scenes that you would like him to play (I’m sure the entire novel cannot be projected on screen) (talking about the must have)

Yes! That’s a nice gesture of him. Sure if things work out well there are too many great sequences in TJCR which are almost written as visual treats. Some of them are breathtaking beautiful geographical regions; some of them are amazing architectural wonders, some of them are hard core action sequences; some of them are dark-gothic, underground, labyrinth sequences and some are very interesting dialogue exchange sequences between the characters of TJCR.

Were you inspired by anyone in particular to take up this genre?

The word ‘THRILL’ always bring one name in my mind – Lalmohan Babu and his most popular Prokhor Rudro. Jokes apart, I have always been intrigued and inspired by the works of Arthur Conan Doyle, Allan Poe,  Satyajit Ray, Saradindu Bandyopadhyay and recently by Dan Brown.

They are already calling it the Indian Da Vinci Code. Are you happy with such comparisons?

Ummm,  I believe end of the day it’s the quality of your work – the strength of the plot, the twists, the flow of your writing,  your characters – would talk and attract people…. however I think at the initial stage such comparisons can bring in a quick traffic. But that’s short time.

Was there a moment while writing this book, when you stood up and questioned your motives? (Say, why am I doing this or should I be doing it).

Thank god, I never had to do that….. through these six and a half years I have always so much into the story…… and the story was so much into my mind - I actually had no other way but telling it to all. that's what I did..... without any doubt or question

Also taking a cue from the Anik Dutta question, wouldn’t you like someone from Bollywood to make it into a film for a wider response?

Thanks to Anik Dutta for mentioning possibilities. But truly speaking I have not thought about cinema yet.  For me this is a very important juncture in my life when I have done my bit – have developed a creative product…. and have given my story to a large group of people to read, to own and to spread the good word….. Now if that happens and people like my work – that‘ll be a good news for me. And at that juncture I might start thinking about other things like cinema.


The Job Charnock Riddle is written as a visual treat: Victor Ghoshe

India Blooms News Service
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