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Sanchit Gupta

Sanchit Gupta

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Sanchit Gupta

There have been a lot of novels with a backdrop of Kashmir. What makes ‘ The Tree with a Thousand Apples’ different in its representation of the state?

The Tree with a Thousand Apples is not a book about the land or politics of Kashmir, it is a book about its people. And people of all kinds- be it the Kashmiri Pandits exiled from their homes, innocent civilians rendered as collateral damage, duty bound army officers or the young directionless militants. It gives everyone a voice in a conflict where everyone is right and everyone is wrong. It does not pass any judgment as there can not be any. In an unbiased narrative, it simply tells you their story, to make you see the truth as it is bare in the open, and then lets you make your judgment the wish you would want to.

When and why did you gravitate towards writing?

Since I was in college I remember, I started with short prose and poetry and slowly graduated to writing books.

Please share your experiences with publishing.

It takes time to find the right publisher but it is worth it. One must be patient, keep your submission materials honed to perfection and build a genuine relationship over time.

You have lived in Kashmir. Have real-life incidents been improvised and incorporated into your novel? I was working in Kashmir as an Area Sales Manager during the time I lived there. Many, many locals I met on the streets, in the market, shops, hotels etc made me understand their world by opening their hearts to share their stories. My two best friends have been Kashmiri Pandits. But I never discussed anything with anyone with the objective of writing a book. During those days seven years ago, I didn’t even know I was going to write a book on Kashmir. They were just my friends and I having friendly conversations over Kahwa, over dinner or just going around the town. Somewhere hidden in my head and inside my heart, it all came back to me when I finally started writing it.

Out of Safeena Malik, Deewan Bhat and Bilal Ahanagar , whom do you think you canidentify with the most?

All three of them! Making a choice between them is impossible. All have their own conflicts which are unique in their own ways. All are right from their own point of view, even though they may seem wrong from another. That is the uniqueness of Kashmir that we must understand, especially the ones who live outside Kashmir. Passing judgments on one another won’t bring us closer, understanding the pain of others would.

What are your favourite reads from last year?

‘A Man called Ove’, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘White Crane lend me your Wings’.

How does screenwriting differ from writing a novel?

The heart of the story remains the same, just the form changes between the two. If we can capture the heart, the form doesn’t matter.


About the Interviewee:

Born and brought up in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, Sanchit Gupta began his career as a part-time copywriter with an advertising agency in Mumbai. He went on to co-found his own theatre group, worked as a freelance film screenwriter and as executive producer–fiction for a leading television network. His short stories have been published in several esteemed publications and literary journals and have won acclaim in leading literary festivals and online forums. One of his film scripts (fiction) has been long-listed in a globally reputed screenwriters’ lab. He has worked with All India Radio as a talk show host and as a screenwriter has written Rajkummar Rao's Behen Hogi Teri and Emraan Hashmi's upcoming Captain Nawab. 'The Tree with a Thousand Apples" is his debut novel.

Apart from being a writer, he is a brand management professional with a wide range of brand building and communication development experience across FMCG, automobile and media industries. His works explore his fascination for global cultures, societal structures, vagaries of the world and the human mind. He welcomes interaction @sanchit421. Find out more about the author and his work at