Unleashing the Literary Imagination: The Enigmatic World of Rahul Saini

Rahul Saini made his writing debut in 2009 and it did not take him long to be identified as an accomplished author with a captivating storytelling prowess. His first novel, Those Small Little Things, went ahead to sell over 2 lakh copies and was soon followed by his second novel, Just Like in the Movies (a phrase which is claimed by his fans to be present in every book he has written till date) went ahead to match the success of his debut novel. Those Small Little Things was also translated into Hindi as Choti Choti Baatein and went ahead to win the award for best translation by the Federation of Indian Publishers in 2011. For years he joked that he is the ‘author of an award-winning book but is not an award-winning author’. It was only in 2019 that his book, Paperback Dreams, won the A3 Foundation award for Best Satire after which he could not throw the joke anymore.

According to his critics, he entered the second phase of his writing career after the release of his second book. By 2012 he had gained enough popularity to catch the attention of, what industry identifies as, the ‘bigger publishers’. His third book was published by Jaico Publishing House in 2012 and received positive reviews. Like all his earlier novels, The Orange Hangover also instantly made it to the bestsellers list across the country. When we spoke to the author, he said that this novel is still very dear to him as it has the cutest illustrations he has ever commissioned; it’s a novel with illustrations. He also mentioned that after so many years of its release, he still gets fan mail for this book. In 2013 he signed a two-book contract with Penguin Books India (Now Penguin Random House India) and came out with his most sensational book till date, Paperback Dreams. It was identified as a novel that ‘reveals the dark side of “bottom level” publishing often hidden by the sheen of “bestsellers” it churns out’ by The Hindu and ‘A burning story’ by PTI. Live Mint stated that the author allowed ‘the reader a ringside view of the inner workings of corporate publishing in India’ and HT City identified Rahul Saini as ‘a young author who reveals the dirty underbelly of Delhi’s publishing scene.’ Paperback Dreams was followed by Just For You which was presented as ‘an adorable, bittersweet story about love and its responsibilities’ by Penguin Random House India.

After a gap of almost five years, with his fifth book, Rahul Saini entered, what one might call, the third phase of his writing career where he started tackling with more mature themes. Released in 2019, the novel had a rather twisted portrayal of love and romantic relationships. It was presented to the readers as ‘decadent, dark and gripping, Love to Hurt You is bestselling author Rahul Saini’s most surprising book yet.’ Dubbed as an S&M novel by some, tackling with the themes of bondage and BDSM, the novel commented upon the psychological impacts of the dark and violent content presented to us as entertainment. The novel failed to strike a chord with its readers and received a lot of backlash and negative reviews for its violent and graphical content.

The long gap after his novel Just for You and the negative reception of Love to Hurt You had a rather detrimental effect on the novelist’s career and it was only after the release of his latest offering, The Part I Left With You, released in 2021, that he reclaimed his position as a notable, meaningful author. The story of this novel revolved around a washed-out author struggling with depression, who was rescued by a starry-eyed, young, energetic, fun loving and funny fan. The novel received rave reviews and soon claimed the tag of a national bestseller. The book was lauded for the themes it tackled, the light and easy presentation of philosophies of life and the statements it made. The novel firmly stated that falling out of love is not always the worst thing to happen to someone and the meaning of love changes for everyone with age.   

Over the years, Rahul Saini has carved a niche for himself in the world of literature. Known for his ability to weave intricate narratives and explore diverse themes, Saini has captured the hearts of readers nationwide. His unique blend of literary finesse, deep character development, and thought-provoking narratives has made him a rising star in contemporary fiction. Apart from writing, Rahul Saini loves to teach. He has been teaching design and architecture for over a decade. He also mentors young authors for Scholastic Writers Academy to help them identify and develop their writing skills.

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