Chandrakumar M – The Auto Driver Who Writes Novels and Scripts for Movies

If you ask any novelist that “how they get ideas for their novels?” Definitely majority of them will answer as “From the journey of Life.” Meet, Mr. Chandrakumar M alias ‘Auto’ Chandran, this how he is recognized in Coimbatore as he is an auto rickshaw driver in the city. Who is also a novelist with abundant life experiences to pen down but the only difference is he writes novels in Traffic Jammed roads and during waiting time for passengers. Thus he carries a duffel bag filled with draft copies of his next novel in his rickshaw. Mr. Chandran has written more than six novels in Tamil and his flick of 2006 titled Kovaiyil Jeeva has earned him celebrity status in 2017 for being used as the basis for Oscar-nominated Tamil movie Visaranai.


Eventful Experiences of early days

The life story of Chandran is as interesting as that of Bollywood movies. Born in a low-income family in Coimbatore city of Tamil Nadu,  Chandran as a child, got into a conflict with the family and ran away from home without any destiny. He went to Tuticorin, Chennai, Madurai and many places without any purpose. For this entire ‘Run’, he did odd jobs, slept on pavements and streets to lead a perfect Nomadic life of India. One fine day he was in Hyderabad train and when the train stopped at Vijayawada station the magnificent view of River Krishna triggered him to jump out of a train and dive into the river.

Experience of Andhra Pradesh Villages

His Nomadic journey took still mode as he became a hotel server in a remote village Guntur district. Everything was fine until one day Chandran and many of his peers were detained by the police on a ‘Case of Doubt’ basis. Chandran and his friends experienced 15 days of torture in police custody and according to him; the atrocities of police custody on people with influential powers were experienced by him in those two weeks. According to him, they were literally tortured in 10×10 lockup rooms in the sweltering heat of March summer. The grueling received for 15 days in Guntur Lockup inspired Chandran to pen his first Novel titled ‘Lockup’ in the year 2006 once he returned back to Coimbatore, which won him critical accolades and also given ‘Best document of human rights’ award by a human rights organization led by Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer.

The story of Guntur lockup didn’t end with lockup torture, as he was sent to Guntur jail for five and half months. It was the experience of interacting with jail mates that opened up a wide array of stories of so many naive people who by the act of hastiness landed up in jail. He has brought out experiences of a murderer by name ‘murder-case’ Pullaiyan, A man who killed a Chicken and ate it due to intolerable starvation, a Naxalite who loves to sing, a Bhagvatar who sings divine songs all have got a place in his second novel Lockup-2.


Spree of Novels

As mentioned earlier, in The year 1984, Chandran came back to his hometown of Coimbatore and is busy with Rickshaw driving profession. He has utilized all the time he gets in traffic jams to articulate the stories within his mind and has written a novel based on terrorism titled ‘Boomiyai kolaikalam aakkum America’, a book on Communist leader P. Jeevanandam titled as ‘Kovaiyil Jeeva.’ The same novel is adapted to a movie titled ‘Visaaranai’ by noted Tamil director Vetrimaran and is nominated for Oscar at Venice for the year 2017. His other work, ‘Eriyum pattatharasi’ depicts the injustice meted upon Dalits in Coimbatore region and also he has written a book on challenges faced by women of marginalized communities of the society titled Azhagu thodattuma.


Cloud Nine Experience as Celebrity 

Recently the movie Visaaranai was screened in Tamil Nadu and Mr. Chandran was also invited for the screening. As nearly 500 people thronged to take ‘Selfie’ with this newborn star who has written the story for the movie, Chandran who is in his fifties was literally on ‘cloud nine’ and he has exclaimed that “Now I understand The Heat Celebrities face in each outing.”

Kalam Fan Club wishes Mr. Auto Chandran to come up with more ideas and novels in his rickshaw rides on traffic jam roads of Coimbatore.


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