NEW DELHI: Are you an aspiring author who is passionate about writing but unable to make a mark? There’s no need to fret as there is help at hand. Nikhil Chandwani, all of 24 and an engineering dropout, can help “bridge the gap between passion and profession” through Writer Rescue Centers.
“I am a writer myself and I dropped out of engineering to pursue writing. I saw around me that people struggled when they encountered failures in writing. I wanted to help them realise their dream. I motivate them to rise above their failure,” said Chandwani.
Starting off informally in 2016, the author of 10 books launched the Nikhil Chandwani Foundation in 2017 and set up a Writer Rescue Center in Nagpur with Telugu film producer Neelima Tirumalasetti as a partner.
He has since expanded to Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Singapore with about 100 aspiring writers, including 13 foreigners, seeking to be ‘rescued’ at these centres. “Initially I train failed writers to write on paper and then in script-writing software,” he said.
Among those who have “graduated” from his rescue centre is author and director Ripesh Verma. “He came to me with 13 backlogs and bruised hands as he was suicidal,” Chandwani said.
“He wanted to leave everything and run away from college. He was drunk when I first met him in Vellore. But he has now won the award for best scriptwriting at the Los Angeles Film Festival,” he said.
Verma, on his part, owes his success to Chandwani. “Forget LA Film Festival, I don’t think I could afford to watch a movie myself in India had I not met Nikhil. More than changing my life, he saved my life,” Verma said.
Other authors are equally profuse in their praise. Shreya Nair, author of How depression and I became friends, said her book is a tribute to Chandwani.
Another writer, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, said “he helped me in times when my writing and life did not have direction. I am grateful to him.”
Chandwani’s journey began in his hometown, Nagpur. “As I was born here, I started off in a small villa where writers from across the country, around 14 of them would come and share their stories. I just began by giving direction to their stories,” he said.
Insisting that writers are the poorest celebrities in the world, Chandwani said, “despite writing such brilliant stuff, most of them (writers) live in rented apartments.”
He believes that the creative knack of Indians is not recognized enough. “For instance, if you see some of the international channels, they do not hire Indians in bulk. This needs to change. India has a great creative pool and it must be utilised,” he said.
Today, young Chandwani is on the list of 15,000 people nominated for the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour.
But according to him, “these (Padma Shri) just honours. My main aim is to train at least 1million writers before I reach the age of 30 and fill the Lok Sabha with storytellers.”