Pulp fiction in India has always existed independently of mainstream writing and publishing. Their readers too have somewhat occupied a space of their own. However, in the forties, Urdu writer Ibne Safi’s crime fiction series, Jasoosi Duniya and Imran series captured the imagination of one and all. In fact, even after Safi left for Pakistan in 1952, he continued to be published in India. Aspiring writers from the generation that followed him were greatly influenced by his work. One of them was adolescent Surender Mohan Pathak who would flit about before, after and between school hours, the alleys behind Jama Masjid in Delhi, with Safi’s novels in his pocket. No one would have thought, then, that he would go on to become India’s most prolific crime novelist.
He has been writing for 58 years now, and in this long and successful innings, the number of fans and the kind of popularity he’s won are a testament that Pathak is a fantastic storyteller. And this is why he is often referred to as the ‘badshah’ of crime fiction. SMP, as we know him, is rare in that he discusses the feedback he receives from his fans in the preface to his new novels, promising to write better next time – and he keeps his word.
So now we present the much awaited story of Pathak’s own life, his 298th book, in his own words. In the first of his three-volume autobiography, Na Bairi Na Koi Begana, as you walk through his childhood, boyhood and youth holding his hand, you will find that it does both, entertain you and warm your heart.
About the Author
Surender Mohan Pathak is India’s highest-selling crime writer with 298 Hindi novels to his name. His writing career, alongside his full-time job with Indian Telephone Industries of Delhi, began in the early 1960s, with his Hindi translations of James Hadley Chase and God Father. His first short story, Sattavan Saal Purana Admi (The Man who Lived 57 Years Ago) was published in Manohar Kahaniyaan, an extremely popular magazine of its time. His first novel – Puraane Gunaah Naye Gunahgaar (Old Sins, New Sinners) was published in another widely read magazine, Neelam Jaasoos, in 1963. After this, he began publishing a series of novels with investigative journalist Sunil Chakravarty as its protagonist; Sunil Series ran into 100 books. Another popular hero created by Pathak for his second series, Sudhir Series, is private detective Sudhir Kohli. Jeet Series features a petty thief who has taken to crime driven by a heartbreak. However, Pathak’s most loved novels come from the Vimal Series whose hero Sardaar Surendra Singh Sohal is a gangster with a conscience.
Published in 1970, his novel Paisath Laakh Ki Dakaiti ( The Sixty-Five Lakh Heist) was a blockbuster that has sold about 2,50,000 copies till date. Pathak’s novel Colaba Conspiracy was voted the most popular book on Amazon.in in 2014. His latest, Heera-Pheri, topped the Nielsen Hindi charts in November 2017. His books have sold millions of copies, and he has a huge fan base across the Hindi heartland.