You’ve Got the Wrong Girl published by Hachette and authored by the young, bubbly yet serious Sreemoyee Piu Kundu is a lad-lit. What is lad-lit? Lad-lit, as opposed to chik-lit, is defined as “fiction about young men about their personal and emotional lives.” This, by common understanding, would be expected to be created by a man who would be able to enter the head of a young man much better than a woman. But Sreemoyee has turned the tables of this genre by deciding to pen a novel with a male as the protagonist and giving him the first person voice in the narrative. Piu has most certainly broken new ground as a woman writer foraying into the realm of lad lit in India, made famous internationally by writers like Nick Hornby and Matt Dunn.

Sreemoyee Piu Kundu made her literary debut with Faraway Music, (Hachette) in 2013. Sreemoyee’s second book, Sita’s Curse (Hachette)– an erotic fiction, launched in May 2014 was a national best-seller, widely covered in Vogue, Times of India, Indian Express, Open Magazine, Femina, Mail Today, Mid-day and Hindustan Times, amongst other leading publications. Sreemoyee has just completed her fourth novel Cut! Written like a play in ten acts, Cut! pays a moving tribute to the parallel worlds of stage and screen through the chequered life and times of thespian Amitabh Kulashreshtra. She has just signed up for her fourth book, her first non fiction, Status Single. But now, on to her experience with You’ve Got the Wrong Girl.

“I took it as a challenge to get into a man’s head, trying to understand the way he thinks about certain things on love, life, relationships and so on and let me tell you it has been very difficult and also challenging to try and get under the skin of my hero Dushyant Rathod,” says Piu. But there is much more to it than just being a lad-lit authored by a lady. Sreemoyi has reversed the mythological love story of Dushyanta and Shakuntala by setting Dushyanta in search of this lady he fell in love with at first sight and had no peace till he finally found the girl had spent a night of love and passion with against the blurred backdrop of the Taj Mahal in silhouette.

“When I read Shakuntala’s story as a young girl, the ‘pain’ of a woman, Shakuntala in this case, of having loved and lost remained with me. I consider this ‘pain’ as the first prerequisite of any story that transcends the barriers of time, geography, culture and language. But it was also a stereotype, a cliché that makes women fall in love and lost themselves in that love even if the one they loved has disappeared from their lives. I felt angry about Dushyanta not being able to recognize Shakuntala when she arrives at his court, much less recall where he had met her and what had happened between them. At the same time, Abhigyana Shakuntalam held me captive and mesmerised,” she explains when asked about what triggered the unique reading of Abhigyana Shakuntalam from Dushyanta’s point of view.

She says she was always in conflict about the ‘heroism’ in Dushyanta’s character and was in two minds about whether he was fearless or whether he was a coward. His falling in love with who was considered to be a ‘woman of the jungle’ at first sight and this could be termed ‘unconventional’ considering the time in which the story is set. But the fact that he did not take Shakuntala with him back to his kingdom proves that he held his responsibilities as a king more important that his responsibility as the husband of the woman he fell in love with.

“You’ve Got the Wrong Girl is a contemporary relocation and reinterpretation of this mythological story placed in post-modern India with its five-star hotels and shopping malls and branded clothes and so on. I have tried to project the story as a multi city, roller-coaster ride, sometimes soulful, sometimes bittersweet, sometimes fun, sometimes family drama-oriented tumultuous that involves a whole bunch of motley, everyday characters drawn from the people we see around us. And since it’s based on my inspiration by Shakuntala as told from the male perspective – I have designed it as a search Dushyanta embarks on and not the other way round. How he wins her back is the backbone of the story Dushyant is a best-selling, new-age romance writer and his novel which becomes an overnight bestseller and is made into a film by a noted filmmaker,” sums up the extremely articulate Sreemoyee.

She has tried to mix up the stereotype formula of the girl pining away for the boy she fell in love with but could not marry because he is poor and the parents put their foot down. “Why must it always be the girl burdened with the emotional burden of this lost-and-found drama called love? I wanted to shake this up every which way and the result is You’ve Got the Wrong Girl who is probably the right girl for Dushyant” and with that, Sreemoyee calls it a day.