5 Indian authors to read if you love romantic comedies
Fill the Hugh Grant-shaped void in your life
Do you secretly weep while watching Julia Roberts remind Hugh Grant that she is just a girl standing in front of a boy, just asking him to love her? Or cheer on Sandra Bullock as she breaks down in a room full of pageant contestants and admits that she actually wants world peace? Then welcome to the club. We meet twice a month to discuss our favourite Pride and Prejudice modern adaptation and eat pizza rolls. Not necessarily in that order.
You can also update your library with authors who can fill you with the same sense of giddy delight and hope for a happily-ever-after like any classic Meg Ryan movie. We’ve curated a list of Indian authors who specialize in doing just that, with a generous dollop of wit and humour thrown in for good measure.
5 Indian authors to read if you love romantic-comedies
After creating ad jingles that ear worm their way into your brain (Remember Pepsi ‘Oye Bubbly’ and ‘Dil Mange More’?), former ad woman Anuja Chauhan decided to foray into the world of romantic fiction (although she hates having to categorize her work under any label) with her debut novel The Zoya Factor (2008). She quickly became a bestselling author with her instantly likeable characters and relatable settings. Her latest novel, Baaz, is set against the backdrop of the 1971 war, with a cocky, handsome Air Force pilot at the helm. With social commentary hidden under layers of witty banter and toe-curling romance, you'll be reading this book into the wee hours of the night.
At 30, author and television screenwriter Durjoy Datta has written over 14 books that have been bestsellers, but still doesn’t think of himself as a good writer. “I still don’t think I write at the highest quality. India doesn’t have a lot of commercial authors, when you see people like Nora Roberts or James Patterson abroad, you realise they are adept at balancing quality with quantity,” he said in an interview. After establishing his reputation as the author the masses need, he made his foray into publishing with Grapevine, which he co-founded with writer Sachin Garg.
Aastha Atray likes to classify her brand of romance as ‘grounded fantasy’ and so it is. She debuted with a classic Mills and Boons novel (complete with a playboy CEO and crackling chemistry) but firmly distanced her books from the notion of escapism this genre is often accused of. Her characters fit into the moulds of the OG M&B leads, but still exhibit recognizable insecurities and flaws that make it easier to fall in love with them.
Nikita Singh wanted to become a writer after she read a “really shitty book”. 25-year-old Nikita has over 10 bestselling titles to her name and is one of the most well-known romance writers of the country. Her books deal with real-life problems faced by the generation, ranging from Tinder-fails to marital rape. She told Huffington Post India the challenges of introducing unusual themes like these to the classic romance fiction mould, “They all want a bite-sized fix of urban culture and happy endings.”
Colorado-based author Sandhya Menon’s debut novel When Dimple Met Rishi did the seemingly impossible. It gave us a male lead who is actively looking for romance and believes in the concept of arranged marriage. If you’re even remotely familiar with the genre, you’ll know that it’s almost as rare as finding a Chetan Bhagat novel that gets feminism right. So it wasn’t a surprise that it went on to be placed in the New York Times’ bestseller list and Bustle pronounced it the ‘arranged marriage YA rom-com we’ve been waiting for’. A Bollywood aficionado, she manages to keep her characters entertaining, without turning into stereotypes.