chapter  9
18 Pages

Consuming Post-Millennial Indian Chick Lit

Visuality and the Popular in Post-Millennial India
WithE. Dawson Varughese

This chapter’s focus is on Indian domestic book cover design, specifically four popular fiction novels by Anuja Chauhan published post millennium: The Zoya Factor (2008a, 2008b), Battle for Bittora (2010) and Those Pricey Thakur Girls (2013), all by HarperCollins India, and The House That BJ Built (2015) by Westland Books. One of the ways in which we might think of Anuja Chauhan’s books as ‘popular’ is by their sales figures. Joshi writes that ‘[t]he previous “Hindu” print run of 500 copies has now been replaced by 30,000 to 1 million-plus first printings for writers such as Chetan Bhagat and Anuja Chauhan.’ 1 All four of Chauhan’s novels also belong to the genre of Chick Lit, meaning that they are female-centred narratives woven around a central strand of the subgenre of ‘rom-com’ and, to lesser or greater degrees, follow Stephanie Davis-Kahl’s definition of Chick Lit. 2 As Chick Lit novels, they are categorised as ‘popular’ fiction and, as this chapter goes on to suggest, are part of India’s changing literary scene, which has undergone immense transformation in terms of publishing, marketing and consuming fiction in the last 15 years, changes that have been very much in line with broader socio-economic developments. For Scott McCracken, popular narratives play a significant role in facilitating such societal change. He writes,