Debut author Naveen Kundra’s Nightwatchman Pvt Ltd is a fast-paced read
Nightwatchman is also an understated and somewhat nuanced satire on the government's functioning
First time author Naveen Kundra has penned down a page-turner that will take you to the world of a rum drinking maverick inventor-entrepreneur who shakes the innards of the Great State. Titled Nightwatchman Pvt Ltd, the story is riveting and certainly has the potential to get a screen adaptation. We get more details about the read from the author.
The plot seems like a Bollywood film's or a web series script! Tell us more about it.
I was concerned about only two things while writing this novel. The first one was that every page or rather every paragraph should be interesting, and the second was readability. To make it happen, I may have used many characters, incidences, dialogues and events as catalysts and a certain setup. Frankly, I like this kind of format of storytelling and, if by any chance someone finds a resemblance with a cinema or TV script, it is their own appreciation, which I respect. In my view, as long as a story is compelling and grips a reader, the rest is secondary.
There are two ways to look at Nightwatchman Pvt Ltd. It is a fast-paced, entertaining novel, sometimes humorous and sometimes sleazy. It is a tale of ambitious and ruthless men and women who would not stop at anything to get what they want. Sanjay Dhingra, Ruhi, Chandra, Khsirsagar and many characters have a definite character arc and motive that they are not afraid to pursue relentlessly. Righteousness and morality are out on the back burner.
On the other hand, Nightwatchman is also an understated and somewhat nuanced satire on the government's functioning. The 'Great State', Dhan Nagari, Dev Nagari are all fictitious, but the reader will quickly identify with these settings. I have got feedback on both, and I would say that I am happy with that.
Tell us about your lead in the novel.
In essence, the novel captures Sanjay Dhingra's story, who deserts his previous company to start his own. He relocates to Dhan Nagari, a filthy metropolis of Great State, along with his ex-colleague Chandra. An acquaintance with Ruhi, a girl working in Nirmal Tower, blossoms into an extramarital affair. Desperate to succeed, Sanjay wades through the government bureaucracy, power brokers and unscrupulous businessmen to sell JB but encounters stiff resistance and is forced to sell his house and destroy his marriage. As his rivals unleash the use of power, seduction, deception, theft and forgery, the people whom he trusts, and love betray him one by one. Things take a bizarre turn when the demonstrations of ‘JB’ triggers curfew in Dhan Nagari and puts CM Yudhisthir Sanghvi's government in danger. His rival pins the ghastly crime on Sanjay. As Sanjay fights on, he has nothing to lose, yet must gain everything.
Where are the characters inspired from?
I made up most of them, but people whom I have known, intimately or otherwise, have definitely influenced my imagination. Someone like Bhule was easier to create because I have worked with someone who liked to read porn during working hours. Others like Ruhi were more complex and layered. She is young and kind-hearted yet manipulative and ruthless. Also, I needed to show the love-hate relationship between Sanjay and Chandra, so I took liberties with the layers of their characters. Similarly, Inspector Ganpule is a cop caught up between morality and practicality and this is something I have experienced first-hand. In the end, I merely used my characters as vehicles to take my story to its destination.
Throw some light on the title of the book.
Nightwatchman Pvt Ltd is the name of the company Sanjay Dhingra launched. The name is relevant, and one would realise that after reading the novel. Telling now would kill the fun. Also, there are three things on the cover; the first and most prominent one is Ravan's effigy, the second is a drone on top, and the third is a watermark of eyes. All three are an important part of the story.
Do you have a favourite author?
Though I read books of all genres, I count John Grisham, Daniel Silva, Khushwant Singh and Jackie Collins as my favourites.
What is your writing process like?
The day I decided to write a novel, I googled ‘How to write a novel’. The search threw up many guidelines, suggestions and tips. However, for me, one of them was a deal-breaker, and that was that the novel should have around 60000 words. I had a vague idea of the story that I wanted to write but was unsure how much I could build on that idea. Nevertheless, I started writing with resolve, and the first few pages were highly challenging. But then, at some point (I still don’t know when and how), I moved from writing the story on the computer to imagining it in my mind. I would imagine characters and incidents while working, while travelling, at parties, in dreams. After a while, I felt so close and connected to my characters- Sanjay, Ruhi, Chandra and many others that thoughts flowed, and words followed. The word count didn’t matter because I had so much to show to my readers. I ended up making a 400 + page novel.
Maybe write my next. I have a few ideas in mind... let's see. But whatever it is, it will be a roller coaster like this one and if that also looks like a movie script, let it be!