Anuja Chauhan is a prominent figure in India, known for her remarkable contributions as an author, advertiser, and screenwriter. She has left an indelible mark in the literary world, particularly in the realm of popular fiction. Her journey from a thriving advertising career to the world of storytelling is a testament to her versatility and creative prowess. In this article, we will delve into Anuja Chauhan's life, career, and notable literary works.
Born in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Anuja Chauhan spent her childhood in various cantonment towns across North India. Her father's service in the Indian Army meant that she moved frequently and experienced diverse cultures. She is the youngest of four sisters, one of whom, Nandini Bajpai, is also an author. Chauhan completed her schooling at prestigious institutions like the Army Public School, New Delhi, Sophia Girls Convent in Meerut Cantonment, and Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, New Delhi. She holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Miranda House, Delhi University, and a postgraduate diploma in mass communication from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
Anuja Chauhan began her career in advertising in 1993 when she joined JWT (J. Walter Thompson), a renowned advertising agency. Over the next 17 years, she made significant contributions to advertising in India, creating memorable catchphrases for brands like Pepsi Cola, Kurkure, Mountain Dew, and Nokia. Some of her iconic campaigns included "Yeh Dil Maange More!," "Mera Number Kab Aayega," "Nothing official about it," and "Oye Bubbly." Her advertising acumen and innovative campaigns propelled her to become one of the youngest vice presidents at JWT by the age of 33. She received recognition for her creativity, earning her a spot in The Economic Times' list of the ten hottest creative directors in India.
In August 2010, Anuja Chauhan decided to bid farewell to her advertising career as she ventured into the world of literature. Despite her shift to full-time writing, she remained active as an advertising consultant, lending her creative expertise to various clients.
Anuja Chauhan's transition from the advertising world to the literary realm was seamless, given her close association with cricket advertising and the vibrant storytelling skills she honed during her advertising career. She began working on her first novel in 2006, which later became "The Zoya Factor" — a book set against the backdrop of cricket, one of her enduring passions. This novel quickly gained recognition for its depth of character, witty descriptions, and authentic Hinglish-infused dialogues.
Chauhan has been praised for her engaging storytelling, although she dislikes being classified as a chick lit writer. "The Zoya Factor" received accolades, including Cosmopolitan Magazine, India's Fun Fearless Female award for literature (2008) and the India Today Woman award for Woman as Storyteller (2009). The novel was even optioned for a film, with a screenplay written by Chauhan. The rights were initially secured by Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment and later purchased by Pooja Shetty Deora's Walkwater Films. The film adaptation, starring Sonam Kapoor and Dulquer Salmaan, was released in September 2019.
Her second novel, "Battle For Bittora" (2010), also garnered critical acclaim, and it too was optioned for a film, set to star Fawad Khan and Sonam Kapoor.
Chauhan's third book, "Those Pricey Thakur Girls" (2013), explores the lives of the Thakur sisters in pre-liberalization India. It received positive reviews, and Chauhan's humorous and colloquial narrative style made her a popular figure among readers. The book was later adapted into a television series, "Dilli Wali Thakur Girls," and more recently, a web series titled "Dil Bekaraar."
Her subsequent novels, "The House That BJ Built," "Baaz," and "Club You To Death," continued to exhibit her flair for storytelling and character development. "Baaz" was celebrated for its portrayal of wartime love and social commentary on the complexities of the era. The rights for "Baaz" were purchased by Yash Raj Films.
Anuja Chauhan has received numerous accolades for her contributions. In 2017, she won the Femina Women Achievers Award for Literary Contribution, and in 2018, she was recognised for her contributions to literature by the FICCI Ladies Organization.
Anuja Chauhan is married to Niret Alva, a television presenter and producer. The couple has three children and is known for their creative and dynamic family. Chauhan, who converted to Christianity years after her marriage, later described herself as post-religious, highlighting her broad perspective on spirituality.
Anuja Chauhan's journey from a successful advertising career to a celebrated author is an inspiration. Her knack for creating memorable characters and weaving captivating stories has earned her a special place in contemporary Indian literature. Her books are cherished by readers, making her a prominent voice in the world of popular fiction. Her advertising career and subsequent literary success showcase the incredible depth of her creative talent and versatility.