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    With Half Boyfriend, Judy Balan takes a dig at Chetan Bhagat’s brand of writing.

    Like him or hate him, but there’s no ignoring Chetan Bhagat. Or his bestselling works. That’s something Chennai-based writer, Judy Balan, imagined she could use to her advantage, when she published Two Fates, a parody of Bhagat’s Two States, in 2011. However, not many readers figured out that she had parodied his writing style, and not just the plot. The author now returns with a parody of Bhagat’s Half Girlfriend, titled Half Boyfriend.

    “There’s no missing the parody on Half Boyfriend in my new book — right from the opening lines of the non-prologue,” says the 34-year-old. Not 1just that, the book lampoons the culture of stalking women in the name of love, something she feels is perpetuated in Indian pop culture, and jarringly evident in Bhagat’s writing.

    Co-written with her “ex-boss, friend and sounding board, Kishore Manohar”, they had tried scripting a sitcom together a few years ago. On his part, Manohar says he jumped at the offer, because he was a fan of parodying.The 40-year-old brand consultant co-created a humour portal as early as in 2000, bosey.com, and now owns the Man vs Tasmac page on Facebook (a humourous page that endorses cleaner and more responsible drinking in Chennai). “Reading the original book, if only to parody it, was heavy work,” Manohar says, adding that the unreal coincidences in the original were convenient for a parody.

    Having written two books based on Bhagat’s writing, did Balan reach out to the man himself? “No,” she quickly says. Her publishers, though, had sent him a copy of Two Fates and invited him to the book launch, but he didn’t acknowledge them, she adds.The usually vocal author also avoided the topic when people tried to engage him on Twitter about it, she informs us.
    Published by Bloomsbury. Rs 149. Available for preorder on Flipkart. Details: judybalan.com

    —Sharadha Narayanan

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