Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Post 20: Book Review 15: Mumbaistan By Piyush Jha


Title:  Mumbaistan
Author:  Piyush Jha
Date:  2012
Publisher:   Rupa Publication
Price: Rs. 195

I would like to begin by thanking the kind words and belief in me that the author of this book Piyush Jha sir, displayed when he first read reviews on this blog and decided to get this book reviewed by me. Its this motivation that boosts me. 

SNAPSHOT: This book is a collection of three stories, crime thrillers Bomb Day, Injectionwala and Coma Man set in the backdrop of Mumbai. The stories keep one guessing till the end and twists are too good.

The Book:  This novel is a collection of three different stories, each in the backdrop of Amchi Mumbai. The first story Bomb Day begins with a love story of a prostitute with a normal guy, who turns out to be police agent on a mission. As the name suggests the mission is to stop a bomb-blast being planned by terrorits at a prime location in Mumbai. All that is known is that RDX is being entering the city recently. The prostitute in the story holds importance as the chief suspect of these terrorist activities is in love with her. On the day of their nikah however there are terrible turn of events and she discovers the truth about him. Will she now help him or her ex-lover(the suspected terrorist) in their mission? Will the police be able to find out what place is being bombed? What will happen when terrorits come to know about everything? Who will succeed and who gets killed? This story has been my personal favourite. It is rightly the first story that gets you on to gripping the book till u finish the last line.

The second story, equally interesting is about "organ trafficking", a topic that one normally cant stop reading about. This story revolves around the entire scam and the entire heirarchy of traders that are involved in the same. It begins with a murder of the chief doctor involved, by a man who is in love with his daughter. He does this only to revenge his fathers death, who was caught in the kidney racquet by the same criminal doctor. When he confesses it to her, she forgives him if he promises to kill every person involved. Then begins the most interesting phase as layer by layer each individual involved is unmasked. Parallely another story runs, of the police inspector involved, a kohli(fisherman) by caste, who missed enginnering and worked his way up to be in Mumbai from his earlier posting areas where someone was posted only as a punishment. The hunt for the criminal, his motivation, all of these take him through a journey of soul searching, bringing him close to his true inner self. This results in a great twist at the end of the story and the way the world shall remember "The Injectionwala".

The thirs story is Coma Man, as the name suggests a man who was in coma, Samir Khanna, recovers after 20 years! The nurse taking care of him as everyday talks to him, as if to herself about a birthday party. He wakes up from his 20 year sleep remembering only that it was his wife's birthday. However this mans presence in the hospital is important and is kept a secret, known to only a few. Now comes into picture another man Raghu, whose father's death is a mystery only known to 'coma man'. Howvere Sammer escapes the hospital in search for his wife, whose birthday falls on that day. Raghu is on a hunt for Sameer. As he begins his serch his memory comes in bits that he was caught in fire that burnt his company in the Hindu-Muslim riots. However that wasn't where he died. He survived as he was moved out of there and attacked elsewhere. Will Sameer find his wife? Will he remember everything? Will he help Raghu reach his dad's murderer? How far would the Coma man go to recover all that is lost in 20 years???

To read beyound all the mystery into the story set in the lanes of Mumbai, Grab a copy now!

The Verdict!!!
Positives :  All the three storylines are very powerful and can draw one into it. 

Negatives: The  book has some Mumbaiya words (and slang too) but in my opinion i cant strictly call it negative as one cant bring "the feel" of mumbai and the characters without the language. The storyline demands it!

Final statement!!!  Rather than going for a movie its a better deal....bole toh "Ek ka teen ;)". Undoubtedly a good read with awesome twists. 

About The Author: Piyush Jha is an acclaimed film director, ad filmmaker and a first-time novelist. A student political leader at university, he pursued a career in advertising management later acquiring an MBA degree. Later, he switched tracks, first to make commercials for some of the countrys largest brands, and then write and direct feature films. His films include Chalo America, King of Bollywood and Sikandar. He lives in his beloved Mumbai, where he can often be found walking the streets that inspire his stories.

Grab A Copy Now!!!
From Flipkart: http://www.flipkart.com/mumbaistan-8129120178/p/itmdazy4gnmmhzue?pid=9788129120175&ref=2bd6c592-e6e1-4d88-b018-9768b256121a&srno=m_1_1&otracker=from-search

Post 19: Giveaway 1: Winners Of Contest : Ask the Author Aslam Rahaman


The Readers Cosmos once again thanks all the participants without whom this contest would have been so awesome!!! And the lucky winners as decided by Aslam Rahaman & Nimi Vashi are:

Hitesh Ratnani 
Priyanka Dey
Manas Kumar
Tanuj Mandhyan
Jaipal Singh Goud

Winners are requested to send their complete mailing address with phone numbers to thereaderscosmos@gmail.com 

Congratulations to all the winners!!! For those who didnt win there will be more contests coming up. Keep a watch at this space.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Post 18: Book Review 14: Deep Focus – Reflections on cinema By Satyajit Ray

A Review by Guest Reviewer : Prakash Gowda



“These pieces, which were beyond access for contemporary readers for a long time, offer revealing insights into the evolution of my father’s thoughts on aspects of cinema as a visual art, his own craft of film-making, and his views on such other great directors like Chaplin, Bergman, Godard and Antonioni.” – Writes Sandip Ray in the foreword of Satyajit Ray’s ‘Deep Focus – Reflections on cinema’ edited by Sandip Ray, Member Secretary of Society for the Preservation of Satyajit Ray Films, Kolkata, and most importantly, son of the auteur, Satyajit Ray.

Renowned as one of the world’s finest film-makers, Satyajit Ray’s films, right from Pather Panchali in the mid-1950s to Agantuk in the 1990s, changed the way the world looked at Indian cinema. Satyajit Ray was not only a great filmmaker, but also author of best selling novels and short story collections. He is perhaps, the only Indian film-maker who wrote prolifically on cinema. The book, ‘Deep Focus – Reflections on cinema’ is a treasure trove that every film buff or film-maker worth his salt must explore.

The book is divided into two parts, ‘The film-maker’s craft’ and ‘Pen portraits’, which seems to be Satyajit Ray’s own way of depicting the dichotomy of visual arts – silent cinema and talking cinema – something we witnessed in the recently released Oscar winning film, ‘The Artist’.

Satyajit Ray begins the chapter sharing anecdotes of Jean Renoir, whom he assisted while making the film ‘The River’. He points out at the meticulous detailing of the atmosphere of Calcutta (now called Kolkata) that Jean Renoir looked for while making his film. He illustrates umpteen examples right from Chaplin and Sergei Eisenstein who demonstrated universal gestures of mime in their repertoire of silent films. “Somewhere between the two extremes lies a film like ‘The Childhood of Maxim Gorky’, as poignantly evocative of the soul and soil of Russia as Fydor Dostoyevsky or Modest Moussorgsky.

But what of our own Indian cinema? Where is our national style? Where is the inspiration to transform the material of our life to the material of cinema?” writes Satyajit Ray, who ends it with the suggestion, “So let us start by looking for that clump of bananas, that boat in the river, and that temple on the bank. The results may be, in the words of Renoir, fantastic.”

He shares his source of inspiration to make Pather Panchali, by admitting that it was simply because it was the most filmable of all Bengali novels. He delves into the details of making Pather Panchali and adapting the novel into celluloid, which raised many an eyebrows of literary critics and literature aficionados.

The book nestles rare sketches, still shots of classics in the making, and photographs taken by Satyajit Ray. A sketch by Ray of Outram’s study for the film, ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi’ is sure to leave you awe-inspired by its meticulous detailing – something he probably picked up from Jean Renoir. It has a checklist on its right side, which encompasses mundane things found in a study room.

“Need the director, as a conscientious artist, be reluctant to use another’s idea” the dilemma is addressed convincingly by Satyajit Ray in the book, where he offers logical examples right from Shakespeare to Kalidasa. The Apu Trilogy is discussed elaborately, where the director shares interesting anecdotes and insights on the craft of film-making right from film-making techniques, script, screenplay, financial backing, critics, and even scepticism. He even states: If I were asked to name the six most important events of the twentieth century, the birth and the phenomenal growth of cinema would certainly be one of them.

On the changing face of cinema, Satyajit Ray states, “With the emergence of a crop of gifted film-makers in the country in the last eight years, it is certainly legitimate now to talk of a new Indian cinema. What sets these film-makers apart from the commercial ‘All India’ ones is a preoccupation with serious, rooted subjects which are put across with an imaginative use of modest resources.

Films were now more life-like, everybody said. Here were men and women who walked and talked like you and I, and didn’t do odd things with their limbs and eyeballs. If the silent cinema was art, who cares? This was life or as near life as you could hope to get without actually getting involved in it. You only had to pay your nickel, lean back in your plush seat, and glance up at the charmed rectangle. This was cinema – this was what we’d all been waiting for. No wonder silent films made a silent exit!”

Having written almost a eulogy for silent cinema, Satyajit Ray admits that he doesn’t intend to belittle sound films as he could hardly do that, being so happy involved in it himself. He writes, “The point I am trying to make is that sound film is not an improvement on the silent film, but an independent art form with its own special appeal and its own special aesthetics. Ideally, the two should have coexisted.”

Well, we’re sure the makers of ‘The Artist’ would have agreed and so would the current crop of short filmmakers, who deem silent films as the best way to convey their message. Nevertheless, the filmmaker brings to you umpteen examples of talking films, right from the gems from South like Samskara, Kaadu, Nirmalayam, Chomana Dudi, Ghatashraddha, Kodiyettom, Thampu – which dealt with rural themes, to the ‘new wave cinema’ by Mani Kaul, Govind Nihalani, Muzaffar Ali, Biplab Roy Choudhury, and Sai Paranjpye. While appreciating their films, Satyajit Ray also admits that such films hardly find takers and gradually handholds us to the world of Bimal Roy, Godard, Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, Charlie Chaplin, and his experiences at international film festivals.

To sum it up, Satyajit Ray’s ‘Deep Focus’ is a textbook for cinema aficionados – unlike school textbooks, this one not only engages you for hours together, but changes your perception towards cinema. A must-read!






Post 17: Author Interview 1: Interaction with Anurag Anand

The Readers Cosmos is very happy to have its first author interview with one of my favourites, Anurag Anand. He  is a Mumbai based Banking professional. He has authored best-selling titles like 'The Quest for Nothing', 'Reality Bites', The Legend of Amrapali' and 'Of Tattoos and Taboos'. I look forward to reading his work for his simple writing style,  good stories and especially two his stories being centered about women. Lets get to know him better.....

Q.When did you begin writing?

A: I have always had a penchant for writing and even while in school I would pen down couplets and poems and unabashedly recite them in the presence of any willing soul I could find. My formal writing career however took off, when, at the age of twenty four, my first book Pillars of Success (self help genre) was published.

Q.What is your motivation behind the same?

A: Clichéd as it may sound, the high from watching my works adorn shelves across bookstores and the feedback's received from gracious readers act as the primary motivators for me. Writing has always been a passion for me, and when this passion began to take concrete shape, there simply was no looking back.

 Q. Tell us a little bit about your recent book?

A: Of Tattoos and Taboos, my last book, is the story of Sejal Patel – a small town girl – and her tribulations in Mumbai that lead to her transformation into Sherlyn Ahuja – an archetypal big-city belle with supposedly 'modern' outlook towards life. I have attempted to keep the narrative real and hope that the youngsters of today, who are compelled to leave the comforts of home for the sake of their careers, are able to relate to the plot and characters. I have also attempted to bring to the fore certain issues that are slowly but surely making their presence felt in the fast paced city life of today – infidelity, opportunism and dilution of bonds that bind us humans together.

Q. Your last two books have been about female characters. Any particular reason for that?

A:Well, at the cost of ruffling some feathers with my male readers, I think women are far more compelling and curious, making them able protagonists for any gripping story. Having said that, my book on Amrapali (The Legend of Amrapali) is a work of historical fiction where the protagonist's gender wasn’t really a matter of choice. To that effect, Of Tattoos and Taboos is my first work where I have attempted to discard my shoes and wear sandals during the narration.

Q. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

A: Writing per say isn’t challenging, more so since I don't try and experiment with excessively flowery language or complex words in my works. It is the part where one is toying with the story, polishing and re-polishing it within the head, chiseling the characters and their interactions, and pin-pointing the exact mix of emotions at play that sometimes poses a challenge. During such phases, one tends to live and breathe the story, thinking about it all the time, which sometimes acts as a distraction from the other engagements of life.

Q. How has it been received by the readers?

A: The response to Of Tattoos and Taboos has been extremely encouraging thus far and my personal favorite among the sets of compliments are those where I have been commended for my ability to think like a girl and present the story from a feminine perspective.

Q.Who is/are your favorite Author/s?

A: They keep changing, depending on the recent books I have been reading. But if I am to take some names, it would include: Orhan Pamuk, Mitch Albom, Rabindranath Tagore and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Q.What books have most influenced your life most?

A: 'Vaishali Ki Nagarvadhu' a work in Hindi by Acharya Chatursen – It managed to arouse enough curiosity within me that eventually resulted in The Legend of Amrapali. I also find Archie comics extremely refreshing and helpful when stressed. They can't really be termed as an 'influence' but they have certainly taught me not to take life more seriously than it deserves to be taken.

Q.What are you reading currently?

A: This weekend I have finished reading two books, Bankster by Ravi Subramanian and 31 by Upendra Namburi. Both are exciting thrillers set in corporate backdrops and make it difficult for you to leave them midway.

Q. Who are your favorite authors and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

A: I have mentioned some of my favorite authors in one of the above answers. Each author has something unique about his style of writing – the prose, the language, the plot, the characters and their interaction. It is the reader and his extant mindset that determines how much a particular work will appeal to him/ her at a given time. For instance, a Kafka might not be the wisest choice when you are retiring to bed after a long day at work, while a P G Wodehouse might fall short of your expectations if you happen to be in the mood for some serious reading. Likewise, for me, what works in the writings of a particular author is largely a function of the kind of mood I am in while reading it.

Q. What are your next projects?

A: I am presently working on a couple of projects. While one of them is a work of historical fiction the other is a contemporary story. I am still not sure as to which of the two will reach the finishing line first though.

Q. What is your opinion about writing as a career?
A: It is a great career option, given the sudden spurt in indigenous authors and the manner in which the readers are taking to them. However, intensifying competition also translates into lower financial rewards for the authors, and hence it is imperative that one takes an informed call while switching to writing full-time. In my case, I am happy with the balancing act between writing and a corporate career for as long as I can pull it off.

Q. What do you think about the current trend of writing in India?

A: I firmly believe that every story deserves to be told and it is indeed encouraging to see a larger number of authors finding willing publishers and readers for their works. This trend works well for the readers as well, by the sheer spectrum of choice it leaves them with.

Q. Since you have written about Amrapali, who is a historical figure, what do you feel about the quality of work coming on historical and mythological figures which is becoming a trend?

A: I have been following works of authors like Ashok Banker, Ashwin Sanghi and Amish, who have made a mark for themselves in this genre. The amount of research that goes behind each such work is tremendous and it is good to see that while there are authors willing to take the pains, the readers too are appreciate of their hard work. At a macro level, such works also help in reconnecting today's youth to the glories of our past, a feat, I feel, is worth applauding.

Q. Any advice for budding writers?

A: Be true to your work. Spend majority of your time in shaping your story and penning it down, without worrying about factors like finding a publisher and marketing your book. If you manage to put together a good story, all else shall follow.

 Q. Any message for your readers?

A: You spend your hard-earned money in buying a book and your precious time in reading it. So, please don't hesitate in sharing your feedback, good or otherwise, with the author. The little time you spend in doing this might have a significant bearing on the future works the author presents before you. And if you happen to have something to share on any of my works, I am available on contact@anuraganand.in or http://www.facebook.com/anuraganandauthor




Saturday, October 27, 2012

Post 16: Book Review 13: Of Tattoos and Taboos! by Anurag Anand

Title:  Of Tattoos and Taboos!
Author:  Anurag Anand
Date:  2012

Publisher:   Shrishti Publishers
Price: Rs. 100

When the author of this book Anurag Anand told me that his recent book after the very famous "The Legend of Amrapali", is based on life of a Gujarati girl who sets out from from a town into a big city attracted by its pace and fast life, i was immediately interested to read it. Thanks a lot Anurag  for sending me a copy the very next day!

SNAPSHOT:  Its a story of an educated but simple Gujarati Girl Sejal Patel who gets charmed by fast and free life of Mumbai - a metro city. The transformations in her in order to be a smart, social and live life on her terms break the Taboos and adapt to Tattoos.She even goes to the extent of changing her conventional Gujarati name to modern Sherlyn Ahuja However what is her purpose in Mumbai? Will these exterior changes really change the person she is?  These are the issues that the story compels one to think about.

The Book:  First of all the cover page is very well designed and fits theme and thoughts of the protagonist. Therefore, once I read the first two pages of pages where her theory about comparative male and female psychology went, gripped me and i went on reading till the end.

The story begins in the colorful back-drop of Navratri days, when Sejal (the protagonist) along with her best friend from childhood to MBA, Kamini are dressed up for a great Garba night. However for Kamini the incentives are more as she is about to meet Nirav, her love since past five years after a separation of three long years. They stay at Nirav's place for the night where Sejal gets friendly with Nirav's friend Jacob and they drink and get a little intimate. This is her first experience of intimacy with a man, who doesn't even call her up. She feels bad and guilty, however upon introspection she realizes that she didn't fell for Jacob it was Mumbai she was attracted to! Around the same time Kamini shits on her own to Mumbai, gets a job and lives an independent life there. Their regular conversations gives wings to Sejal's dream and then she decides, its time to fly. She finds a job and despite of her parents little reluctance, the presence of Kamini in Mumbai favours her get her way.

She is now into a demanding job and lives with  Kamini. One night on Kamini's insistence they go to a pub where both of them get heavily drunk and make out with two complete strangers. Sejal being too drunk is semi-concious and recalls everything just the nest day. While Kamini isn't affected by it normally and preaches that "if guys can have fun why cant we?' Somewhere, maybe she wants to accept it to decrease the guilt. Slowly the guilt fades as time passes buy. She finds a great companion in her boss Ravi which blossoms into love from both sides. They both gel well with each others friends and room-mates. However, right after two years of this relationship, when he goes home to talk to his parents about her, he instead comes back engaged!!! She feels cheated and shocked. As she deals with these feelings and tries to reason out his ulterior motives, he sees him falling for the newest girl in their office which leaves her disgusted. Thanks to their social life of Mumbai, there is always someone and she doesn't feel lonely. Meanwhile Kamini reveals she broke up with Nirav as she found him in compromising position with two females. All these events disgust her against guys. She now changes her current job to avoid seeing Ravi everyday.

Now begins a new phase in her life where she is sick of men and their lies. However, she finds a great friend in Vishal, a struggling actor. He is someone she could be herself with and its the same for him. They also being physically attracted to each other they become friends with benefits. They spend time and make out regularly, however keeping it a secret from everyone and their status "single". He sees many other girls and she also has one night stand with her boss on an office trip. All is well until one day Vishal proposes and they get married only with the consent of his parents. She gets disgusted by the guy her father chooses for her and sends them her wedding invitation just a day before. She now gives up her age old name Sejal Patel to a modern Sherlyn Ahuja, and as a mark of leaving the taboos gets a tattoo! All this that a normal Gujarati girl cant dare do even in her dreams!!!

Is this a right step? Will their open ended relationship always be the same? Will they be able to live that way always? Will her values change with the name and the tatoos? Or does the heart always has taboos?For an answer to all of these grab a copy!

A lot of soul searching and introspection that happens as Sejal passes through different phases of life, i could relate to them the most and it just kept me thinking. 

The Verdict!!!
Negatives:  There are one or two incidences in the book which are unnecessary. However being very small they never make you feel bored. 

Positives:  The language is simple and good. Story is something one can easily relate to. The story ends with a beautiful message. Also a special mention here that the author deserves to be applauded for his ability to do justice to the female character and her emotions. It is a difficult task to understand and comprehend women, thinking like one is a feat!

Final Statement:  An entertaining read with a message and some introspection.

About the author: 
Anurag Anand is a Mumbai based Banking professional, for whom writing is simply an extension of his passion for books. He has authored best-selling titles like 'The Quest for Nothing', 'Reality Bites' and 'The Legend of Amrapali'. He has been widely acclaimed for his realistic style of writing and ability to capture myriad emotions within his words.

Grab a copy today!!!
From Flipkart:http://www.flipkart.com/tattoos-taboos-9380349610/p/itmdajgygtpyqfp2?pid=9789380349619&ref=bca76379-c736-4595-a309-87afadbc0916&srno=m_1_1&otracker=from-search








Thursday, October 25, 2012

Post 15: Book Review 12: Left from Dhakeshwari By Kunal Sen



First of all I would say the book cover draws you towards picking it up. Surely as you read the first page you feel it conveyed exactly the kind of emotions within.

SNAPSHOT: Its a collection of nine short stories, mostly sad, depicting deep human emotions and relationships that follow one till the end. 

The Book:  There are nine stories, depicting real life characters and emotions. Tragedy, love and loss of people, place and overall a a depiction of human emotions and their evolution is being addressed through them. The stories are sent in background of bengal, so the characters and especially their love for reading and poetry is reflected.  The stories will imbibe you into them, make you think really hard about relationships, emotions and life. The best part is that the stories are written in the form of a play which you feel it before your eyes as you read.

There is a son's quest for his mother in a story followed by another part where they are seen together at peace, but whether its a dream or after death is left open-ended to the readers imagination. There is a story where people find love despite imperfections and loss in earlier relationships which has a message to get through anything as light awaits one, sometimes at far end of a tunnel. A striking story where an assitant director within himself deeply loves a supporting actress but unfortunately circumstances prevent him from doing her role a justice. He however finds her much later and life and the the turn of events then are deeply touching. A love story of a girl with a deep scar on her face to a mime artist whose deep wounded scars remin unravelled, will they remain hidden in love? Does love win or the fear of showing your weaker side? These emotions keep you thinking for a longtime after reading each story. 

If you are thinking about just a casual short story read this is not the type. Its deep, requires time and some stories being interconnected its advisable to read the chapters in order.

The Verdict!!!
Negatives: None (this is the first time I have all good things to write about and i am proud that its an Indian i am writing about!)

Positives:  The language is good. Writing style is snapshot view into an ongoing frame and from there the stories continue. Charcters are simple (to relate to) and realistic. Stories worth to ponder upon. Kunal Sen surely has a long way to go.

Final Statement:  A must must read!

About The Author: Kunal Sen is an independent filmmaker and playwright. An investment manager by profession, he has acted in and directed films, written screenplays, poetry, prose and critiques for over four years for several leading publications. His other interests include travelling, painting and reading.

Grab a copy today!!!
From Flipkart: http://www.flipkart.com/left-dhakeshwari-9381836353/p/itmdcycgjt7vfmtq?pid=9789381836354&ref=da62cf3b-ed61-4755-94fc-f435131a7a1e

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Post 14: Book Review 11: The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi


First of all i would like to thank BlogAdda for selecting my blog for the review of this book, especially it being written by one of my favourite Indian authors "Aswin Sanghi". Being a great fan and great recommender of Chanakya's Chant, i was really looking forward to this book.

The first look of the book as i wrote about in the earlier post about the Delhi book launch and dicussion session with the author http://thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in/search/label/NEWS, that it resenbles Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol". I however was looking forward to the parallels that Ashwin Sanghi is famous for, proved undisputabily in his last book "Chanakyas Chant" but this book was more or written in a Dan Brown style, which i really wish wouldnt have been so.

The story is about the quest for "The Krishna Key", a secret that lies buried through ancient times. It begins with the murder of a leading archeologist Anil Varshney, in Dan Brown style (with the assasin stamping a seal on his head and painting a sanskrit shloka, Remember the Vitruvian man murder) as he discovers four seals which were relics of lord Krishnas kingdom, hence disproving that Krishna is a myth. However of greater ineterest is a fact that it has no hole within them but are further a part of a set, that consists of a plate that fits them. Anil Varshney is clever to have taken possession of the plate, however aware of the dangers he locks the plate in a safety vault and gives the coins to four different people who are his best friends. Little do they know that the reason is they all belong to the same Yadava clan,, the discendents of Lord Krishna . I am confused here as to why being the cleverest he just doesnt get a team of friends to work on this rather than distributing it amongst people. Fortunately beofre his murder he had shared all the information with his friend Ravi Mohan Saini, a smart, dynamic professor of Mythology (i would say the parallel of Robert Langdon, however Langdon is unbeatbly more charming).  Unfortunately since he is also the last person to visit the victim Anil Varshney, Saini is arrested by police. His doctorate student Priya being a daughter of the best criminal lawyer helps him get out of prison in a quest to alert the other bearers of the seal and locate the secret that lies in The Krishna Key. 

The murderer is a strong character "Taraak Vakil" as he is made to believe and trained to be a Kalaki Avatar. He has all the signatures of the same, parents with the prophesized name, born in the predicted village also a white horse as is the most popular myth. So then begins chain of murders very cleverly planned, parallel to Saini meeting each of the seal bearers and thus him being a suspect and killer on the loose. He manages to be on the run with is PhD student Priya. The story of  Krishna goes parallely along with the hunt, which however doesnt seem to be of any significance till the end. The beginning is very interesting as one learns a lot about the quest to establish signatures of our History and Mythology by finding Dwarka, various proofs, however as the story advances it becomes too much information to handle. However i must say hatts-off to the author for research and dwelling so deep into a lot of aspects.  The powerful religious fanatics and masterminds are revealed along the story and at most points its highly predictible Dan Brown plot. What happens ahead? What is The Krishna Key? Who gets it? These questions keep you glued. The book is a philosophical take on the quest, people with such mind set will appreciate the end others may not. Beauty afterall lies in the eyes and the mind of the beholder.

The Review!!!
Positive: Exhaustive research! I can bet Ashwin Sanghi is one of the most well researched authors of this country at present.

Negative: An over burden of analogies and information. The life of Lord Krishna running parallely is of a little use, however the author gets the benefit of doubt that a reader alien to Krishna can understand the story. Please be original!I would have loved the Ashwin Sanghi touch not a copy of Dan Brown!!! There is a lot of scope in the outline of the concept.

The Verdict!!! Read for the love of mythology.


About The Author
Ashwin Sanghi is one of the well known writers in the Indian literary scene, and an author of thriller fiction. He shot to fame through his first release, The Rozabal Line. His books are characterized by extensive research, and they're fast paced political or historical thrillers.
Sanghi's first novel, The Rozabal Line, was self-published in 2007 under his pseudonym, Shawn Haigins. The theological thriller based upon the theory that Jesus died in Kashmir was subsequently published by Westland in 2008 in India under his own name and went on to become a bestseller, remaining on national bestseller lists for several months. His second novel, Chanakya's Chant, a political thriller with roots in ancient Mauryan history, shot to the top of almost every bestseller list in India within a few weeks of its launch. The novel went on to win the Crossword-Vodafone Popular Choice Award 2010, film producer UTV acquired the movie rights to the book and the book remained on AC Nielsen's Top-10 throughout 2011-12. The Krishna Key, Sanghi's third novel, is a furiously-paced and riveting thriller that explores the ancient secrets of the Vedic age and the Mahabharata.
Ashwin is an entrepreneur by profession but writing historical fiction in the thriller genre is his passion and hobby. Ashwin was educated at the Cathedral & John Connon School, Mumbai, and St Xavier's College, Mumbai. He holds a masters degree from Yale and is working towards a Ph.D. in Creative Writing. Ashwin lives in Mumbai with his wife, Anushika, and his son, Raghuvir.

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Post 14: CHITTAGONG SUMMER OF 1930, PART 1





                     Relive the armed revolution led by Master-da Surya Sen

In brief: In 1930, schoolmaster Surya Sen, affectionately known as Master-da, leads sixty-five boys to capture the armoury of Chittagong in erstwhile East Bengal and frees the town for three days. They hope to go down fighting, die a glorious death and set an example for the rest of the country. But destiny has a different plan for them, and the raid is followed by a four-year-long insurgency. Surya Sen is eventually caught and hanged–even though the British admit they have no incriminating evidence against him.

Chittagong: Summer of 1930, Part 1 brings to life the famous Chittagong Armoury Raid, led by Bengali revolutionary Surya Sen, through the memories of his young disciples and the British officers who were his contemporaries. Manoshi Bhattacharya draws upon historical records, government documents and personal reminiscences, tracing the life of the Bengalis and the British during the period. She creates a vivid picture of the armed revolution from 1900 to 1934, and brings to light one of the lesserknown yet vital episodes of India’s struggle for independence.

The History & The Story....

The Chittagong Armoury Raid and the Battle of Jalalabad that followed encompass the biggest, organized, armed uprising to be led by civilians in the history of India’s struggle for freedom. It was the next big event since The Uprising of 1857, or The Mutiny in British parlance, which had been led by trained soldiers. As a result the surprising successes enjoyed by a school master and his band of students resulted in intensive analysis and discussion not just amongst the officers of the British Indian Army but also in the Parliament in London. The incident caught the attention of the Empire (Australia and Canada) and of USA. News items related to the Chittagong rebellion were reported regularly in the Australian papers - The Canberra Times, The Argus, The Courier Mail and The New York Timesin USA.


Since Gandhi and Nehru choseAhimsa as their political strategy they, regardless of their
 personal beliefs, could not publicly applaud the contribution of the armed revolutionists. But it did provide them with a leveraging point when negotiating with the British. In the years following 1947, the new born nation was too caught up with moving forward to be able to celebrate its heroes. Sixty years on, the new generation of Indians born in Independent India look back with pride spurring the making of movies and the writing of books.

Chittagong: Summer of 1930 is an exhaustively researched book that tells the story from the perspective of twenty-seven people, both Bengali and British, reflecting diverse view points. Having been crafted from the writings of the participants and their British contemporaries, the writing preserves the regional styles and nuances. For example, a Bengali never says ‘goodbye’. If he is the one going away he will say ‘I’ll be back’. And when seeing somebody off he will say ‘esho’ which translates literally to ‘come’. The British of the Raj speak a mix of British English, translations of Bengali jargon and American jargon.

Chittagong: Summer of 1930 evokes an image of the Raj delving into the lives of the Bengalis and the British, their thinking and reasoning, the food they ate, the songs they sang and the stories they told. Manoshi Bhattacharya creates a vivid picture and brings to light one of the lesser known and yet vital episodes in India’s struggle for independence, one without which the tale of the Empire can never be complete.

The second part of the book, which is due to be published, will deal with the women’s movement and the highly publicized Chittagong Armoury Raid Trial in which the Indians more than prove themselves equal to their British rulers.


About the Author: Manoshi Bhattacharya


Manoshi Bhattacharya is a former Indian Navy physician. Having discovered her passion for history and storytelling, she has to her credit Charting the Deep: A History of the Indian Naval Hydrographic DepartmentThe Royal Rajputs: Strange Tales Stranger Truths published by Rupa & Co; Buro-Angla and other Stories published by Hachette India which is due this year. She currently works as a general physician in Gurgaon.

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