Monday, 11 February 2013

Review: RIP – Mukul Deva

The following is the overview of the book which prompted me to read this book.
“R.I.P. The Resurgent Indian Patriots. Self appointed guardians of a nation seething with anger at the endless scams and scandals rocking its very foundation. Vigilantes who vow to stop corrupt politicians and colluding civil servants. Even if it means killing them. Colonel Krishna Athawale and his team of Special Forces officers rally to protect the country from the enemy within. They call themselves the K-Team. And no one is safe from their deadly intent. Hellbent on stopping them is Raghav Bhagat, rogue para commando, gun for hire and Krishna's béte noir. Caught in the crossfire is Vinod Bedi, Special Director CBI. Reena Bhagat, a glamorous news anchor, embittered by her husband's betrayal. And two young boys, Sachin and Azaan, torn apart by the loss of a parent. It doesn't get bigger.”

Sounds like a promising plot doesn’t it? Sounds like the story is something which will rise above the breaking headlines sort of overview doesn’t it?
Unfortunately it doesn’t.

Politicians, voluntarily retired army officers, CBI officers all seem to favor ‘arsehole’ NOT ‘asshole’ as their favored choice of expletive. The book opens with brief acknowledgement and an author’s note. The latter sermonizes and indicates the germination of the idea behind the story. I blame my modest id’s inflated sense of good taste in movies and books to have wanted to move from the black screen to the story. But…
I am more than well aware of the effort which goes behind writing a novel. Not a novella, not a novelette. But a novel. It is hard work. And I would have marveled the book and probably cherished it. IF… If it had been the debut novel by a first time writer. I would have ignored the shoddy editing in places, I would have ignored the manifesto, propaganda styled, pro – Anna Hazare, anti – ruling party voice of the author and concentrated at the “story”. But apparently, the author has 5 best sellers against his name. The book doesn’t delve into the “story” till about 120 odd pages (the book is 286 pages long). In movie terms, this book for me is like… Take somebody who is completely unaware of Ram Gopal Verma’s body of work, and the first movie he/she is made to watch as an introduction to the director is ‘Ram Gopal Verma ki Aag’. ‘RIP’ is my ‘Ram Gopal Verma Ki Aag.’  
The following is my assumption, based on my limited understanding of the author’s style of writing on the sample size of 1, (this book). I can see why the author’s previous works have been best sellers. And I can firmly say that this one will too be described as a best seller, if it already hasn’t been proclaimed so. The proclamation has got nothing to do with the morbidly grotesque PR job which the cover boasts of, like a poorly spelled tattoo in Sanskrit. The language is simple, the characters are one dimensional, the clichés and stereotypes are plenty on offer, the cussing is limited and unimaginative. The plot promises ‘A Wednesday’ and one can optimistically view the story as being just that. The problem I had with the book is that the execution was more Rohit Shetty’s ‘Golmaal’ series. And we all know why the latter’s movies are considered blockbusters. They appeal to the lowest common denominator. The LCDs I refer to here are people who like to write ‘reading’ under the heading of hobbies in their resume.
I am still of the firm belief that there are very few Indian authors who can write good thrillers set in India with Indian characters. This book made me sorely miss Juggi Bhasin and his stellar writing. If you are looking for a good thriller, then give RIP a miss like you would ignore playing in the sewers during the monsoons and grab a copy of Juggi Bhasin’s ‘The Terrorist’

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