Private India : Book Review

So, what makes a good thriller? When it comes to a book, things are different than the movies. Movies, its easy to keep viewer glued to the screen. Help being in form of background score, the camera movements and a lot more. But books, has only one power in them. The word power. So its a tough job to fuel a book thru words that will keep reader immersed in the ongoings. Stuck in the scenarios. Unputdownable-as often said. (very common word I know). Naturally, a tough job. And Ashwin Sanghi, have mastered it. As far whatever works I have read written by him, he definitely scores higher. To be frank, I don't know about James Patterson and this 'Private' series of him. But after reading this, definitely it enticed me to read the series. 

Very well known investigation firm - Private has its own operations in India. Obviously in the commercial hub, maximum city Mumbai houses its headquarter. After solving some key cases including IM induced serial blasts, they are now in big picture. And not just a simple detective agency. So, when they come to know about this murder investigation at an international hotel, Santosh Wagh-the head of organization, knows they are going on a relentless roller coster ride starting from now. And how this ride goes further in a series of killings and surprise revelations. Connections, motives and the secrets, forms the story.

What makes this a really good ride is its pace. I thought I would read some 50-60 pages a day and will complete this by the week. (being 470 pages). But I surprised myself with the reading speed. Despite of my busy schedule, I managed to read 200 pages a day and the book got completed in just three days ! Because, its written so well, in simple language, avoiding fancy phrases. Avoiding unnecessary detailing. And that's how a thriller should be. So fast that there is no point in putting the book down against distractions.

Though, this took toll of the characterization. The book falls flat on that front. Despite of each character having a back story, you can not feel for them and they don't make a lasting impression. They just make a good part of ongoing events. Maybe this was intentional so that it won't mar the thrill. On the other hand, Ashwin Sanghi in his own style, sprinkles mythological elements in the story. Though in a lesser quantity. but effectively he uses this theme. (Don't know how James is attached in project. Did he also co-write the chapter, or he is credited for use of 'Private'?!). Also another thing left me confused about is - unanswered questions. A certain character, who is blamed for the things going on, is left sidelined by the book progresses. And the questions about him, hang right there. otherwise, the description of the city, Mumbai, impresses. The typical elements - smugglers, dance bars, beggars, high profile people, politicians, actors and the police. Everything is weaved in perfectly.

I would rate it as 'should' read for readers who love thrillers. A few hours, well spent reading this. But if you are looking for another Krishna Key, this is not it. This travels a very contemporary genre, but doesn't disappoint. With this, Ashwin Sanghi definitely concretes his position on the must read list.


 
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books !

Ramayana-The Game of Life: Rise of the Sun Prince : Book Review

Since childhood, I have heard, read and seen stories of epic - Ramayan. One of the two biggest epics of India. Seen - in numerous adaptation by tv, cinema and plays. Heard - through grandparents. And read, the versions best suited for kids. Never have I read extensive, sincere and detailed works on the epic. So whatever I knew about Ramayan, was limited to such sources. Thankfully, this series is going to change it completely. Ramayana : The Game Of Life series by Shubha Vilas, is an extensive effort. Part 1 of the series 'Rise of The Sun Prince' kick starts the experience very well.

Rise.. tells the story of earlier phase of Ramayan. The prelude. Where all the forces in heaven, conspires to let the avatar of Lord Vishnu - Rama, walk over the earth. How the kingdom of Ayodhya gears up to welcome him, how he spends his childhood, boyhood and how he leads to marry Sita. Everything in so much detail, yet as concise as possible. And what is so different about this book? How the writer choose to impart wisdom through footnotes. The nectar from the fruit. Almost all pages are sprinkled by such thoughtful notes. Giving lessons on leadership, life changing aspects, divinity, loyalty and much more. Very swiftly the notes give you the best lessons. Also there, in footnotes, some well researched bits about the ongoing is put. Making each page worthy information to read.

It seems really in depth research is done by the author. Taking clues from Valmiki Ramayan as well as Kamba Ramayan (tales from South India). Amalgmation of the two is done in a way one can't detect it. Moreover, it goes into backstories every now and then. Making one's knowledge about things enriched, things we rarely knew.
Sample -

- How vast the city of Ayodhya was, be it area or the infrastructure. How rich its people are, spiritually or physically.
- Detailed life history of Vishwamitra. How he has this life long fight with Vasistha Rishi.
- How a simple wish of Lakshmiji made Lord Vishnu do incarnation of Rama, and her as Sita.
- How Dasratha has to marry as much as 353 times.
- Rama's age during various important stages of Ramayana. (Did you know he married at the age of  12 !!?)
- How did the island of Lanka originated?
- Origin of many holy rivers.

The writing style is fluid. Never you feel it heavy or giving too much of life lessons. At places Shubha describes ongoings so well, it overwhelms you. For example few scenes that are my favorite - when Luv-Kush tells the story of Ramayan in front of Rama himself. Or the times when Dasratha hears stories about braveness of Rama and the proposal of him marrying Sita. Despite of the fact, everything is writen in past tense, you feel you are watching this in front of your eyes and move with it. My only complaint is how the names are written. With extra 'a' in the end. Rama, Dasaratha, Janaka, Lakshmana. I mean, it doesn't at all look authentic. Otherwise, the book is surely a keeper, so must the series. To tell your kids the tales of one of the greatest person walked on this earth.

This is the first time I am seeing this publishing house - Jaico Books. And am surprised to see such perfect work. Starting from the beautiful covers to the printing quality and the paper quality. Everything is just too good. The footnotes fonts are not too small that it makes a comfortable read. Overall, a worthy job.

I would recommend this work - for you to know how detailed our history is. How not everything is known to us and that needs to be told.


This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books !

My Black-list : Five black things I desire

Obviously my favorite color. Black. Mysterious, stunning, sexy and what not. Everything around me, I try to first own in black color. (Well, being practical ofcourse). So when Blogadda got this initiative out, I instantly came up with a list. Here is the first installment from the list of things I desire, in Black. 

HTC One M8 - Black


Nothing beats HTC One M8 when we talk about killer looks merged with equally killer specs. And this beast packs both in it. Just one thing it lacks - Black. There is still no black color and that is the one I desire. How utter sexy it will look with that metal back and amazing UI. This phone is black, is sure to get envy from everyone around.

Black iPod Touch - 1TB
Tell me it is possible, isn't it? 1 TB for the huge song collection of mine, is still insufficient. But carrying all of my favorite songs, that too, in suave black design. Black headphones will add yet another charm. I would never let anyone get hold of it if it becomes a possibility
.

Black wardrobe
From black t shirts to black tuxedos. Shining black shoes to swanky black watches. Everything black is something that I would love to have. Always. In fact, my present T shirt collection reflects the same. But still, how awesome it would be to have everything black. Dashing looks naturally comes alongwith that color. Isn't it?

Black Cat
A cat. A real cat. Not the commando. Cats have always fascinated me. Have always wanted to have one as my pet. Even though black cats are counted as evil force, back here in India. But no pet as cuddling, as mysterious, as gorgeous as a black cat is. And when those eyes shine in pitch black night - priceless expressions from people - guranteed ! Would love the cat roaming around brushing smooth silky black fur over my feet.

Black Diamond Ring
Just look at that pair of rings. That mysterious black piece of stone looks stunning. Would love to get a pair for us. Paired with my favorite metal - Platinum (again, dash of black), this Black diamond  can never go off my sight.

So, this is my 'black'list. Part 1. What's yours?
_____________________________________________________
This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at BlogAdda.com

Sita's Curse : Book Review

Desire. The subject that often raise eyebrows. Especially when used as a topic in literary works. Don’t know why but people tend to believe literature can’t be based on that one thing. That forbidden lane everyone fear of walking from. And when someone walks through it, showing mirror, people tend to criticize like anything. Personally, I don’t think Erotica, works depicting desire, are bad. (and no, I haven’t read Gray series yet, but if I get some time, surely I am interested in that). Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s second novel – Sita’s Curse, travels the same lane. Exploring sexuality, especially women’s sexuality.

Sita’s Curse – is about Meera. A village belle, beautiful, living in her dreamy world as all girls of her age are. Married of at age of nineteen, she finds herself trapped in a dead marriage and soulless relationship. Both, physically and mentally. How she go through her days pass bringing memories along with her. Searching answer for her desires. searching for soul-mate, trying, to get free.
 
What I liked in the book is how exquisitely detailing it has describing characters. Describing how beautiful Meera is. How the males around her, are so desirable. It is the first time for me , where one get a chance to peep in women’s mind, her intimate thoughts. What she actually is going through while struggling with daily chores.  Its interesting how the story movies the timeline. From the times of late 70s when Amitabh Bachchan was a favorite of all, to the modern ones when Salman Khan is a heartthrob of all. From the times of telephones in neighborhood, to the times of dial up internet connection. Sreemoyee quite neatly weaves the things together. Add to that, description of Byculla’s chawls and even, the flooding tragedy – wonderfully written. And let me add some words about the erotica part – its steamy. Detailing each moves, not being vulgar, yet being hot, she pens down interesting encounters. That too, by the woman protagonist, now that is something I never have read before. Also, the part when Meera gets free, gets to hangout with 20 something kids and enjoys her life their way, is a nice surprise. Though somewhere that whole scenario reminded of the movie English Vinglish.

What got me confused (say disliked) was the constant mention of Kartik. (You will know who he is after reading the story). Yes, he is one important character, but how Meera sees him in everyone seems more fictional and unreal. Because anyone, in such long time, can move on without such trauma. This is me perhaps. Other thing that bugged me that at a few places, the erotic encounters seem repeated, monotonous. Not frequent, such parts are, and that’s good that it doesn’t hinder the overall story.

The cover actually took me by surprise. So well it is designed, I checked twice if it is printed in India itself. ;) The darkness is captured beautifully on cover photo. The printing is quite good too. Overall, if I were to summarize the book in a few words, it should be : Hot, engrossing & honest. Would recommend for those who like it hot. Read if you don’t get offended by that important part of your life.
 
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books.

Hawaa Hawaai : Movie Review

What a man ! Amole Gupte - that rare someone who refuse to deviate from what his heart says. Staying true to his story and show us the best on the silver screen. After Stanley Ka Dabba, his Hawaa Hawaai is one such movie that melts your heart from first to very last frame. Fortunate we are to have such a movie made in today's crore clubs.

Yes, its just another 'achievement of an underdog' story. Yes, it has same old elements of child labor and poverty. But still, its Gupte's own touch that makes it an experience. Story of Arjun who works at a tea stall, dreaming of flying on skates. How his four friends and the coach makes the dream come true is such a heart warming tale.

Written and directed with all his heart Amole at many places, extends his trademark sequences previously seen in TZP and SKD. But no complaints there. How sweetly he gives us bitter dose of reality ! The team he employs for this adventure, is one of the best ensemble of recent times. The 5 kids - Partho Gupte, Ashfaq Bismillah Khan, Salman Chhote Khan, Maaman Menon & Thirupati Kushnapalli. (Surprisingly there is a backstory of this team. Apart from his son, all four are from Gupte's theatre workshop for underpriviledged children-Aseema ! Respect.) Each kid has timing so perfect that can put any superstar to shame. Add to that brilliantly penned lines, harmless genuine fun the proceedings are. Partho is such a gifted boy, even at this age, such a mature performance without any glitches, such a natural actor ! On the other hand, Saqeeb Saleem as the coach, charms you from the very first scene. Making the enthusiastic coach's character totally believable. Wonderfully he portrays the transformation by the time he reaches the goal. Neha Joshi, perfects her part as worrying mother of Arjun.

I was a bit sceptical about the movie, blame it on poor publicity or as always my ignorance for sports movies. But now I am in love with it. This is such a little movie with big heart. Which should not be missed at any cost. I don't understand why critics don't come out of there 3/3.5 stars rating. Movies like this, should be rated highest. Must be watched, for the love of cinema.

The Hunt For Kohinoor : Book Review

To be frank, have never been a fan of thrillers in backdrop of political boundaries. Have always ignored such plots. But, now I think the view is getting changed after reading this brilliantly paced thriller by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar. Her latest - The Hunt For Kohinoor, is such superb amalgamation of a political plot and history lessons, aided with thrilling 96 hours journey of the female protagonist - Mehrunisa.

Being the second book in 'Mehrunisa Trilogy', I was quite apprehensive on reading the second part without reading the first one. But thankfully, there aren't any continuing storyline that can make you clueless. The only connecting dots between the two parts are its characters. Rock solid spies - Harry, RP and Raghav. And the art lover and restorer - Mehrunisa who can switfly turn her side as a spy and still continue to connect the present world with a Renaissance mural or even a Mughal painting. And still, she is a woman, and know her boundaries and has her own fears and limits. Very well written the character is. As she is not out and out a daredevil which would lead one to start believing it as a 'fiction'. And the spy team - RP, Raghav and the 'Snow leopard'. Each one gets a perfect caricature by the writer's pen. That you can imagine the exact person what writer had in her mind.

Extreme detailing doesn't end with the characters alone. The backdrop of Afghanistan, FATA, POK, Pakistan and places around - are given in so much details that it leaves you stunned. Add to that, the political history, the games that USA, Russia and Pakistan played on playground of Afghanistan. How and who got the benefits of those. And how India is thrown in the picture with what connection. Everything looks so well researched and that makes the journey more authentic. You feel transported to those sandy deserts of Afghanistan, those killer peaks of Hindu Kush and even those dark, cruel caves.

The pace - is essence of the tale. It is not easy to hold reader's attention in a book, especially. And when you promise a tale that is going to last only 96 hours, that too in first few pages. You have to bind the reader to the ongoings. And this tough part is done with sharp finesse.Though at places, nearing to finale, I felt too much detailing of few new characters, did mar the pace for a while. But that again, after reading further pages, you feel it was the necessary devil. Another complaint is how everything falls conveniently in place while finding the cryptic clues. Or may be, because this is not a 'mystery' but a thriller. May be, its just me.

Unputdownable - the word is used n'times. But this one surely is. Because of its pace. Because how it takes you on a ride that goes from cliffs to caves, barren deserts to chilling peaks, museums to terror camps. Would certainly recommend this.

Don't be surprised it this gets converted into a film. My vote to play Mehrunisa goes to Bipasha (of course, as a 'fit' spy, who else suits?) or Deepika (remember her 'art restorer' role?).

Tags : hunt for kohinoor book review, manreet sodhi, book reviews, kohinoor secret, mehrunisa trilogy, priynka chopra