The Highway Mafia author Suchitra Rao, has explained a lot of things regarding the nuances of writing crime thrillers in this exclusive interview. From organised crimes to cattle trafficking, Suchitra answered all questions and other controversial matters in a detailed manner. 

Here are the excerpts from this wonderful interview with the emerging authoress Suchitra S Rao. Indeed, interview session was so well, and full of enlightening answers.

The genre of organized crime in novels attracts all. What do you think is the future of this theme in literature in India?

‘Organized crime’ has always been an topic of global interest for long time for a very long time, We had many international best sellers hailing from this genre. In India, I think the theme is becoming more popular off late. 

Book Cover

Our news papers are filled with scoops  from Mushrooming Mafia’s and their various crimes.  Reader’s automatically get interested in crime novels , showcasing these topics  to see what truly goes behind.

How do you view crime thrillers on Indian backdrop or Indian themes can find acceptability among the global audience?

India is a very diversified country , both culturally & geographically.  This has been the primarily reason for global interest in arts & literature. Predominantly, Global audience view India as a land of ‘ahimsa’.

When they picture India , they think of Taj Mahal, Yoga, Beautiful sarees, peacock etc. My point of view is a crime thriller with an Indian backdrop will take some time to catch up among International audience due to this reason.

Which international author of crime thriller impresses you?

Stieg Larsson of ‘Millennium Series’ ,  The way he wrote on a sensitive topic of ‘Human Trafficking’ , an ‘international crime’ in an interesting narrative format with a very creative plot truly impressed me, and I can proudly say that it was one of the books that inspired me to write ‘The Highway Mafia’.

How you want The Highway Mafia as a theme of the Bollywood movie?

The book deals with a national topic of ‘Cattle Trafficking’ , an interesting & hot topic on its own, yet not explored much in Bollywood. Also, The story has a lot of action packed scenes and interesting plot twists.

Few of the readers got back to me with the feedback telling that the book was very visual and they felt like sitting in a movie, so I believe the Book would make a Good Bollywood Movie.

But , the success of it will depend on a Good director & a Male Lead. The story revolves around the character Arjun, who is very stylish & flamboyant yet grounded in his own way.

Protagonist ‘Arjun’ is the very best of my imagination and I am very passionate about his character. He is the ultimate blue -eyed boy and a ‘too good to be true’ character. There are very few actors I could think of who could play the role flawlessly on screen.

The Highway Mafia by Suchitra Rao

Image Source: File Photo

Also it has to be recreated into a good screen play as the book is elaborative. Therefore, A good director is essential to pick up the right plot that makes a good movie.

What is your take on breaking the decades old mafia-bureaucrat-politician nexus? How can focused literary activities break this unholy nexus in India?

I think the root cause of most of the crimes today, be it organized or unorganized  is ‘Corruption’ & Mostly people who debate on this topic talk about change In government. I feel strongly there must be change in people’s attitude , unless that happens, how many more Government changes nothing major is going to happen to the development of our nation.

We Indians have somehow started accepting small inconveniences in our day to day life, which has created complacency among politicians & government officials. We should stop adjusting and start demanding for what we truly deserve like good roads and Quality education and Healthcare. 

The first step to this change is awareness and Focused literary activities can help us achieve exactly the same by uncovering various society issues that needs people’s attention.

How do you project the future of crime thriller writers in India from the perspective of burgeoning youth population?  

I foresee a lot of youngsters stepping into this, the youth these days are brimming with ideas and creativity. We are also well aware of the different crimes that are happening in the society through social media.

We have the urge to make change in the society. Hence, I feel there will be more crime thrillers in future centered around various ‘interesting topics’ that we encounter in our day to day activity.

Can social causes of India be portrayed through the genre of crime fictions?

Well, I feel its subjective. When I chose to portray a topic of social message as crime thriller it was a personal choice to do so. This is a slight risk , as a majority of them choosing  crime fiction will often chose the genre for adrenaline rush and when you give a social message at the end of it , its going to disappoint of few readers , who are not really looking for it.

When I announced my title ‘The Highway Mafia’ ,there was lot of excitement to find out what the Title meant, quite a bit of them expected it to be a highway robbery, bank robbery that involves transportation etc.

So when the book revolved around ‘Cattle Trafficking’ , majority felt it was a creative & unique title that captures attention and is well placed. However, it did disappoint a few who were looking only for a pure thriller and not any social cause.  So it’s completely left to the resourcefulness of an author if they want to depict social causes as a crime thriller or chose an alternative genre.

You were into the sales and marketing. Don’t you think it was a massive transformation from a sales person to a successful writer of crime fictions?

Being an ‘Author’ was my childhood aspiration, I was sure of writing a book some day ,But, It was more of a retirement plan, I never imagined writing it in the peak of my career. I am very passionate business and I love my corporate life. My ‘Sales’ job has taught me a lot.

Most importantly it has taught me not to procrastinate any task. So when, I kind of had the story forming in my mind and I had the slightest chance of becoming an Author, I decided not to procrastinate in becoming one.

I made the best use of the opportunity and used every resource at my disposal  to create ‘The Highway Mafia’. It is definitely a huge transformation and most of my ‘colleagues’were surprised I could do it without taking a career break.

How can the writers portray darker sides of India through novels?

Writing is a very strong medium , that can create a long term impact. Not just in India, globally there are lot of topics from the darker sides that are yet to be exposed. There are untold stories & unsung heroes.

Writer’s can choose to write on these if they are interested in bringing such stories to light. However, research is key to such novels, as they must keep their facts right when venturing into such topics.

Because, it comes with a lot of responsibility and they should ensure that they should not mislead the readers in any ways.

What is your recipe to young, budding writers of crime thrillers?

There are many stories that we come across day to day life. I would like to tell budding writers to be extremely observant. There might be an interesting story happening right in their vicinity while they are searching for a topic to write across globe.

Also, my suggestion is to blend a crime thriller with the right amount of other genres and present it in a mixed platform. This will help you draw more audience to your book.

‘The Highway Mafia’ had a romance sub-plot of Arjun & Sana that had gained readers attention and it helped me gain a few readers who are not really into crime thrillers , but loved reading romance novels.

What a fantastic interview!

We discussed so many things and got astounded listening to such insightful answers from the young authoress.

Team CheckerNews wishes Suchitra very best in her life and literary endeavors.

We will be looking forward to seeing more of your astonishing literary gems in future. All the best, and keep writing. 

Thank You

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