Chetan Bhagat is like Salman Khan of Indian fiction industry. You can expect all masalas to spice things up but no substance to learn and improve your literary quotient. One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat preserves that legacy. Anyway, like many of his fans I had pre-ordered his book on Amazon. He is such an author you simply cannot resist his books even though you may not want to read, or like him.
There is a certain titillating thrill to read those trademark ‘Chetan Bhagat’ humour, and his latest ‘One Indian Girl’ lives up to it. The protagonist of the story is an edgy chick named Radhika Mehta, who has utter contempt for patriarchal society she hails from. Winged by some most sought after academic tags like SRCC and IIM, and a high paying job; torn apart in love life; and coping with the high handedness of her parents, especially of her mother; she gives vent to her feminist urge to everything she thinks and does. She even does not spare her own marriage to defend her latent wanton feminist ideals.
As you breeze through the pages you cannot help but admire Chetan for the way he narrates story though his female protagonist. Flawlessly and effortlessly, he drags the story from Goa to New York and back, again to Hong Kong and back, and to London and finally the story returns to Goa. It is hard to have a female lead when the writer is a male. Such stories do not hit stands frequently, and thus credit should go to Chetan for coming out with a book like this. He is able to maintain the ‘unpredictability’ factor of the plot till the last word of the novel. Humours and jokes in pages cheers up you up and keep up author’s legacy as the most entertaining writer of India.
The plot is one of its kinds in that it has no hero, heroin or villain. Radhika is all-in-one in the story. The book has all the ingredients of a commercial movie and I am sure Chetan has his this in his mind while writing. When you turn the final page you would like: WTF! Did I read a novel or some movie script?
Having said all this, let’s now give the devil some of its due. Chetan had positioned the story for a great climax, which I am sure had set the adrenal of readers rushing, but then inexplicably he falters and fails to deliver the final punch. Honestly, I expected a much better ending. Many conversations including humours and jokes in the book sound so artificial that you would feel the author was just mindlessly filling up pages just to wrap up the book. It baffles me his wardrobe is still redundant and has not improved much since publication of his first classic ‘Five Points Someone’.
Personally for me, the most entertaining part of the book was when Radhika and Brijesh were taken to a police station in Goa for carrying illegal marijuana and the conversation that ensues with a police official. The worst and most boring parts are the eat-outs, where no meaningful conversations take place and the author ends up talking more about alien food items.
I would surely recommend the book only if you have a lazy weekend or some free time to waste. The book is not worth wasting your precious time in work or other priorities. For people having literary bent of mind, reading Chetan’s novel is akin to watching a comedy flick starred by Shah Rukh Khan. So read the book at your own risk!