Wannabe writers might want to try travelling in trains when they feel creative. Back in 1990 J. K. Rowling was on a train to London when the idea for Harry Potter just “fell into her head”. Twenty years later, K. Hari Kumar wrote his first novel on a train in Delhi.
At the time he wrote it, it was in the form of a screenplay for his first short film ‘My Name is Iyer’. He was then a 21-year-old lad in college. The screenplay became a novel. When Hari fell ill and took off for a whole semester from college, he sat at home and did what he had always wanted to do - write. When he was done, he called it ‘When Strangers Meet’.
Hari was born in Tripunithura and brought up in the crowded suburbs of Gurgaon. Even as a kid, he was fascinated by mystery and monster films. When he started writing, he idolised Doyle and Dahl. Somewhere along the way he took a fascination for the camera. The digital pictures he took made it to the finals of the Prestigious Nobel Memorial Photo competition held by the Foreign Ministry of Sweden in 2010 and 2012.
Hari came back to Kochi and began ghost-writing screenplays for television commercials while struggling as an assistant director in the media industry. And it started paying off. “I shot my first documentary in Punjab for an international artist recently. Storytelling is my passion and I wish to write novels and direct films in the future,” says Hari.
After he had completed his novel, began the tough journey to find a publisher. “My manuscript was rejected by half a dozen publishers. And then fourteen months later, Srishti finally took an interest in my work.”
The book talks about father-son relationships from the viewpoint of three strangers.
Hari, who has always been fascinated by thrillers, medieval mystery, and Gothic horror, describes his novel as more of a ‘Bollywood fiction’. “There is action, romance, comedy, drama (lot of it), suspense and a twist in the tale!”
Like a Bollywood film, his book comes with a trailer that he directed himself. “I was looking at ways to promote my novel when I stumbled upon this concept of book trailers. When Strangers Meet is, perhaps, India’s first cinematic trailer shot with live characters for a novel, on a real location.”