Ghalib: The Man, The Times (Viking/Penguin 1989), his first book was the highly successful and critically applauded biography of the Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. This book has been translated into several Indian languages;
Havelis of Old Delhi, a much-discussed volume was launched by Span Tech, London, 1992 & Bookwise, India, 1999;
Krishna: The Playful Divine (Viking/Penguin 1993) became a best-seller on India’s most popular deity;
Yudhishtar and Draupadi (Viking/Penguin 1996), an epic poem on two of the central characters of the Mahabharata, still forms the backbone of several dramatic and philosophical productions.
The Great Indian Middle Class (Viking/Penguin 1998), was Pavan K. Varma’s first path-breaking book on a contemporary subject. Later translated into several Indian and foreign languages, the book was an instant bestseller, and remains the focus of discussion and debate even today. As a sequel to this, he, in association with journalist Renuka Khandekar, wrote Maximize Your Life: An Action Plan for the Indian Middle Class (Viking 2000).
Being Indian: The Truth About Why the 21st Century Will Be India’s (Viking/Penguin), an astoundingly successful book followed in 2004. This was described by The Economist as “one of the most subtle recent attempts to analyse the continent-sized mosaic of India and simplify it for the general reader.” It was soon published by William Heinemann, in the United Kingdom, as Being Indian: Inside the Real India in March 2005. The Japanese, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian translations of this book were very well-received. Being Indian has also had extremely successful runs in its Bengali, Hindi and Urdu editions.
Love and Lust: An Anthology of Erotic Literature from Ancient and Medieval India (HarperCollins) co-edited with Sandhya Mulchandani was released in 2004.
Kama Sutra: The Art of Making Love to a Woman, his witty adaptation of Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra, was published in 2007 with Roli Books. This has been translated into French and German.
Becoming Indian: The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity (Penguin-Allen Lane), his latest book of non-fiction, was launched in February 2010. It deals with the pivotal issues of culture and identity for postcolonial societies, particularly in an age of aggressive globalization where co-option is the sub-text in the field of culture and takes forward his signature analysis from the issue of “Being Indian” to “Becoming Indian”. Its Hindi and French translations have already been published.