Journalism to writing… A long journey covered by author Juggi Bhasin. Do you know the creator of Agent Rana.. the popular graphic series? Well, it’s none other than Juggi Bhasin. I consider myself fortunate to get a chance to know him and his work while conducting this interview. Let’s dive straight in to know more about him.
1. Hello Juggi Sir, welcome you to my world of entertainment and news “Indiacafe24”. Everyone knows who you are and what are your credentials… but still will request you to share a bit about you as a person, your education, family, and life with my readers.
I am a published author of six books including the latest one, THOSE WHO WAIT. I am also the creator of the popular graphic series, Agent Rana, which was published for two seasons for more than two years, daily – in all editions of The Times of India newspaper.
Before becoming a full-time author, I was one of the first, professionally trained television journalists in India. As a senior news correspondent with Doordarshan News, I have covered many landmark events including the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 and reporting from Kashmir about their worst period of militancy and insurgency. I was also the first, Indian TV journalist to interview North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang in 1992. I was also part of the core team of Lok Sabha TV and spent some time there as the Lead Anchor.
I am also a stage actor and both a behavioural and mental health counsellor. I run a popular You Tube channel called THE CAA SHOW.
I have a master in English Literature. I received my professional training from FTII (Film and television Institute of India)
My wife Sonu Bhasin is one of the senior most corporate leaders in the country. Besides being an eminent business author in her own right she sits on various board of top companies in India.
I have a son who has a corporate career in the United States in the state of Miami.
2. As we know you are among the first trained TV journalists in India… So before diving straight into your latest book talk..I would like to know what made you decide to make a career as a journalist?
See I was very lucky to be in the first ever batch of trained TV journalists in India in the mid-eighties. It was a heady time because TV News was opening in India and the possibilities were endless. I was always interested in national and geopolitical events and therefore this choice of a career made perfect sense to me.
3. You are also a communications and behavioural counsellor expert… so what type of counselling do you give to your clients?
I was trained at a top, mental health counselling organization – Sanjivini in Delhi. I put that training to good use and counselled hundreds of individuals looking for relief from issues like depression, marital conflict, bi polarity etc. I later also branched out to hold meetings and talks on motivation and communication for corporate. I especially did a lot of these talks online during the Covid period for individuals and companies.
4. What made you think of writing books? Is that something from your world of Journalism that inspired you to write?
During my stint in TV news I used to visit Kashmir frequently and saw the militancy in that state at close quarters. It left a lasting impression on me. I resolved even then I would write a book on my experiences. That dream came true when many years later I wrote The Terrorist, partly based on my journalistic experiences. That journey has continued since then. Today my interest in contemporary, national and geopolitical events blends to find its way in my books.
5. You debuted as an author in 2012 and now it’s 2023…. how was the journey? How is your growth as an author as per you?
I am more than satisfied with my journey. I have written six books on themes and issues of interest to me. And the seventh book is in the works and will hopefully be released next year. I am especially happy that my books have always been contemporary and deal with issues that are not obscure but relevant. I have constantly tried to deepen the psychological make up of my characters and make my plots ever so interesting. In that sense it has been a good journey of immense growth.
6. Now let’s talk about your latest book ” Those Who Wait: When Revenge Clashes with Power” tell us about this book.
My new book is the story of a Prime Minister of the country who finds himself at the crossroads of his life when he senses he needs something more in his life to lead a fulfilled life instead of mere electoral victory. An existential battle to fill the vacuum in his life then begins. His personal battles dovetail with the fortunes of a high-minded military family, wedded to patriotism but at the same time at loggerheads with authority.
What happens to three members of this family that is the father, his daughter and the son becomes intensely linked with the personal dilemma of the Prime Minister. The book is also about how the Chinese conspire against India. All these different strands unite in a searing, intense and if I may so, unput downable read.
7. How did the plot come to your mind and how long it took to complete the novel?
This novel has been in the making over two years though the actual writing was complete in less than a year. The plot formed in my mind inspired by contemporary events in our nation’s history where the office of the Prime Minister is always in the eye of the storm and a polarizing atmosphere more often than not divides the country.
8. Where do you see the future of the publishing industry? Is it only for those who can afford the big budget marketing cost or is there scope for authors who don’t have budget for such marketing promotion and still write quality content which deserves the attention of the reader?
I think the market today cannot be better for all kinds of writers to enter and show their creativity. The entry of self-publishing in the market now gives an opportunity to many writers, including first time writers to bring out their books on their own terms. And even if the book does not make it to book stands and airport lounges, online sales of books is the way to go in these times. For all this you can spend as much as your budget allows you to spend. The past tyranny of chasing 4 or 5 well known publishing houses is now over.
9. Crime is a sensitive genre… sometimes it’s risky too… Why did you choose such genres and what exactly appeals to you most in this genre?
See I am not strictly a crime writer but more a writer of geopolitical realities and reality fiction. Buy yes, in the past I have written two crime novels – Fear is the key and Bollywood Deception both of which were very well received. In crime novels your narrative has to be tight, the plot exact and the characters intense and memorable. Many writers cannot balance these three imperatives and therefore their crime novels fall flat. The balancing of these imperatives is a delicate art and therefore crime writing is risky even for the best.
10. Who is your inspiration when it comes to writing?
Honestly, I write to make myself in my own eyes relevant and please myself. I also write to inspire myself. You must first satisfy yourself creatively before you can please the wider world.
11. Who are your favorite authors?
I have been greatly inspired by literary authors like Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway and fiction writers notably Alistair Maclean, Desmond Bagley, and Daniel Silva. Among crime writers the books by Lars Kepler are my favourite read.
12. What are your other passions in life?
I am cinema buff. In my house on one floor, I have a small cinema of sorts and both my wife and I and sometimes in the company of our friends watch interesting off beat films. I am also tuned in to various podcasts and shows on social media. The American show All – In is my favourite show.
13. Any tips for the budding authors?
Believe in your idea and let no one else tell you otherwise. Pursue your convictions without diluting them or altering them under pressure. Writing might not be a particular money-making profession, but it is a deeply satisfying one. And therefore, all the more reason that you must pushback against pressure that test you or compromise you before you reach your goal.
14. What next after this book and when can we expect that from you?
A seventh book is in the works and hopefully I will get to release it next year.
15. Who is your favorite… Journalist Juggi or Author Juggi and why?
Easily Juggi Bhasin – the writer. My journey as a TV journalist has only led me to the point where I could become a writer.