Despite the fact that One Night At Call Center was disappointing, I was eagerly awaiting for Chetan Bhagat’s third book as he is one of those rare Indian English writers who writes for Indian readers . In this book, Chetan has combined Cricket, Politics and Business, in trying to portray the aspirations of contemporay young India. It is the story of three young Indians from a middle class background who aspire to make it big. The book succeeds in touching a chord when it deals with the struggle of the three protagonists, Govind, Ishaan and Omi, in setting up their business. Cricket is omnipresent throughout the book but when it comes to Politics, the book is as clueless as its three main characters.
There are few similarities between this book and Five Point Someone. Both the books have three main characters and a leading lady for one of them so that situation for the mandatory sex scene can be created. But the similarity ends here. The humour is not as good as it was in Five Point Someone also the sex scene this time somewhat contributes to the storyline unlike his previous books. The book is fast paced and is obviously written with a potential block buster in mind. The prologue of the book succeeds in making this book unputdownable even in the first few chapters, when the book drags a little.
Chetan did an excellent research for Cricket and it shows in the book. However if he had done half that research on Politics as well, the book would have been a must read. Or maybe dumbing down Politics in the book is not such a bad idea, considering the target audience for the book. But the book scores on the portrayal of small town India and its aspirations. When Govind aspires to own a chain of Sports Goods stores one day, he represents ambition and hope of millions of Indians. Through Ishaan, Chetan has taken a subtle dig at Indians for whom watching cricket is a substitute for patriotism. The characters of Govind and Ishaan has evolved really well. But the same cannot be said about Gopi. Infact none of the remaining characters has shaped well.
After IITs and Call Centers, Chetan has chosen communalism as the backdrop for this book. Such a serious issue demands much more research than done by Chetan. Looks like Chetan had just read some riots stories and made an opinion about the cliched communal psyche of the Gujarati society. However the book succeeds in portraying the entrepreneurial spirit of Gujaratis.
A much better book than One Night At Call Center but Five Point Someone is still Chetan’s best book.