BOOK Mukul Deva wanted to tell the true story of men in uniform, whom he believes, are maligned and misinterpreted

He was never interested in writing anyway, he says with all the airs of a writer. “I see stories in my head, and tell them to my Mac, and they get translated to books,” says author Mukul Deva. The writer, speaker and entrepreneur was in Bangalore for the launch of his book, RIP . Deva started to write action thrillers at a time when nobody was doing them, and not many people encouraged him to try it out. “Lots of people read thrillers but there were no stories with an Indian setting.” But in truth he chose the defences as his premise because, “I wanted to tell the true story of men in uniform; they are maligned and misinterpreted.”

With some gentle prodding he says, “When there is a natural disaster and 50,000 soldiers are helping with the rescue effort how many media people are talking about it? But if one soldier is caught on the wrong side of the fence, then starting from the media to the neighbours, everybody is talking. People seem to forget they are human and they come from the same stock. They too are flawed and they are men who do a difficult job and a damn good job!” After 16 years in the armed forces in various capacities, Deva attributes a lot of his writing to the time he spent as an officer. “I have a lot of clarity about terrorism, counter-terrorism, weaponry and strategies, but that aside, the army taught me focus and discipline. I write for four hours everyday, that’s why I have a book out every year.”

All his stories, he assures, are based on reality. He takes incidents and weaves a story around it. “Incidents used have been fictionalised… all my characters are fictitious, but the line between fact and fiction is very thin.” In RIP , Deva has brought out the reality of political corruption.

Having been compared to Ludlum and Clancy, Deva comments, “I think I’m better looking,” some light laughter and he continues, “There is a time and space occupied by every writer, Clancy did a lot of work pegged around the Cold War era and Ludlum did a great job with the Bourne series. My space is a strong India/Asia territory and my stories are also closer to reality.”

With confidence he declares, “I know my books will make great movies.” Many a director has told him that his books are script-ready. “ RIP received two movie offers even before it was released. The reason it hasn’t been sold yet is purely commercial — as soon as the money is right.”

Deva has a book on breakthrough thinking that will be out in the next two months, and a thriller series based on the seven deadly sins. “Every time I write, I discover new dimensions and all my books aim to create an awareness of social issues — Lashqar was about the reality of terrorism, and RIP is about corruption — thrillers also make more money, and so I will never stop writing,” he concludes.

CATHERINE RHEA ROY

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