In an exclusive interview with NewsX, author & columnist Arjun Hemmady talks about his book ‘Captain Khadoos’ and the advice he’d give to young aspiring authors.

Arjun scoffs at the excuse that people give that they don’t have time to do things. He used to work in a full-time corporate job when he started writing his very first novel. But he still used to take out some time to write his novel. “I think its important to be passionate about what one does and also take time out for things. One should never be afraid to work hard,” Hemmady told NewsX. On asking what gave him the idea of writing a novel, he said, “So, I decided to write a novel in 2012. Captain Khadoos was the first idea that I got. That was when I was playing a cricket game on the computer and I thought that I can do something with this.”

He explained what the word ‘khadoos’ which is a Bambaiya-Hindi term signifies. “Term that is used to signify somebody who is very strict.” Arjun also explained the significance of the title. He explained we would openly call a teacher Khadoos but in the Mumba cricketing circles, the Mumbai batsmen have got a reputation of being Khadoos.”There is a belief that Mumbai batsmen will score a century before they get on.”,Arjun said, “That is the price that they have to put on their wicket. And even when the baller is dominating the batsmen, they won’t give up. They will just keep on grinding away.”

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He started writing this novel in 2012. At that time, very few cricketers had spoken about the issues of mental health. Mental health & depression was something which was very ‘close to his heart’. He said that every character in the novel has struggles which the readers would find very relatable. “So instead of having physical issues that are already looked into sports dramas or sports novels”, he added, “I decided to look into the mental aspect of it.”

The novel’s main character Suraj Bhatkal and he’s a Mumbai-based cricketer. For the batting stance, he thought of Shivnarine Chanderpaul of West Indies. “For balling, I thought of Zaheer Khan”, he said, adding “because of the way he has evolved his career along the way.” And for captaincy , he thought of Ravi Shastri.

“I was very lucky that I had a lot of people to guide me along the way,” Arjun told NewsX. “But, even while writing the novel, there was a bit of self-doubt in me that will this be accepted by people. There were times when I thought that it was bitten off more than I can chew.” There were times when Arjun doubted himself but he didn’t quit.

It took him around seven years to write this book. But he is happy because his writing matured along the way. He has kept the characters more supportive in various ways. He thinks there is no set time and every author has their own pace.
“An author should never compare himself or herself with any other author,” he said.

“One should never follow genres blindly,” Arjun advised aspiring authors,”One should cover all the bases possible before the novel is released like making the editing very tight, having a very good cover, having the synopsis, and the blurb that peaks the interest of the reader, revealing so much to pick the interest but not so much that they know everything.”

Arjun believes that one should always keep working and keep on improving. Arjun said that sportspeople are one of the real heroes.“I feel a little sad that a movie on Dhyanchand has not been made,” said Arjun.”There are fictional sports movies coming up, there are biographical sports like Dangal. But we should base movies on real-life heroes also because they have done it in their real life, and they have proven others wrong.”

If a movie is made in his book, Khaddos Captain, he would want Vicky Kaushal to play the the role of main protagonist. He thinks Aditya Dhar, director of Uri: The Surgical Strike, can direct this movie successfully.

And speaking on his future plans of putting out more novels, he said, “I have a couple of ideas in my mind. Let’s see how it goes.”

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