Monday, November 29, 2021

Another Time Another Place by Chandni Sengupta (Book Review: 3*/5) !!!

  

38th Book of 2021

 


So, I’m enjoying my reading weekends these days as every Saturday I pick up a book and very successfully, I complete it by Sunday evening. The distractions seem to have completely disappeared from my weekends. It’s great as now I am reading last few books of this year and after that, it’s going to be a fresh cycle again consisting of new target and new set of books. This weekend, I wanted to read something short and light hence I picked up Chandni Sengupta’s “Another Time Another Place”. The book is published by Rupa Publications in around 194 pages. It’s a pure love story talking about two characters – Samaira and Mayank. It was very interesting to read about them in the blurb of the book as well as in the initial chapters when their characters are introduced.

 

It's very serene the way book takes us specifically to one character at a time and tells us the story from their perspective. I got a feel that I am regularly seeing two people in their respective bedrooms reacting to the same situation and responding differently. Also, the way authoress has kept their personalities pole apart yet the way they come close to each other so naturally makes it all sound quite believable. I liked how author has worked on the characterizations as you are able to visualize both in front of you. Even the other characters are used in their limited roles quite well. I liked how they didn’t take much space into the main story. Chandni remains focused towards the characters and their growing relationship between them throughout the story.

 

Sengupta doesn’t shy away from speaking about the contemporary world and its way of looking at the other gender. Similarly, how sex is no more a taboo is discussed openly which tells how guys end up sleeping with 25 odd girls just for the sake of one-night stands and doesn’t even feel ashamed of discussing it with the new partner they are trying to get indulged with. It makes you little awkward while reading but then, you know, you can’t deny what’s happening around you. I liked how author has carved the character of Samaira, a 32-year-old girl, who has never been in any physical relationship until then. It is very difficult to write about such character in today’s time, but author makes it all sound relatable and realistic.

 

Author also describes how people are married in wrong relationships and the prominence of divorce taking place around us. It tells us how parental pressure ends up ruining the life of youngsters just for the enthusiasm of getting their children marriage by a certain age limit. There’s a twist in the pre-climax that halts the relationship of Mayank and Samaira which comes as a shock even to us – as readers. The climax is about to give us some news but the way it ends makes you believe that there’s more to this story and this can’t be the end of it. You know somewhere Chandni has already planned a sequel to this story as something remains missing when you end the book and keep it on your heart and think about what should and shouldn’t have happened.

 

Talking about the drawbacks – As author simultaneously talks about both the characters from their point of view in 3rd voice, sometimes, she just jumbles up between both and the chapters with the characters’ name doesn’t solve any purpose occasionally. Most of the book is about their chatting and conversation on phone which makes it boring after a point of time as you want to read more about how they interact with each other when they are together in person. The climax could have been little more powerful which I believe ends very abruptly. It seems many scenes are written in a hope that this might get adapted into some digital format as it sounds less like a novel and more like a scene of a romantic movie. There are some typos and spelling mistakes. I am clueless how this gets missed these days when there is so much proofing at the publisher’s end. May-be WFH has made some people casual. Haha!

 

Overall, this is a good book for people below 24 years of age who might feel it as a fantasy world. This is also a fine book for beginners to start their journey of reading with. I give this book an average 3 stars out of 5. I am looking forward to reading more stuffs from Chandni Sengupta.


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WRITING BUDDHA 


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Three Khans: And the Emergence of New India by Kaveree Bamzai (Book Review: 3.25*/5) !!!

  

37th Book of 2021

 


Well, just 2 days back, I completed my target of 36 books set for the year 2021. I thought that I won’t be able to move beyond the target due to the psychological slowdown that happens once we achieve a set target. Hence, I picked up a book named “The Three Khans and the emergence of new India” written by Kaveree Bamzai. It’s based upon our favorite three superstars who have ruled Bollywood for almost around 2.5 decades – Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan. For someone like me who is 1989-born, my whole childhood has been about being fan of either one of these three actors as we keep on changing our interests in our growing year. Haha! But particularly, I was a big fan of Salman Khan hence every time I get a chance to read about him or the other two Khans, I just pounce upon it. Hence, I chose this book to go beyond my target.

 

Before this book, I have read almost a similar book written by Sanjukta Nandy named “KHANTASTIC: The untold story of Bollywood’s trio” which speaks about the lives and careers of the trio Khans. Another book which is completely based on Salman Khan named “Being Salman” written by Jasim Khan is something for which I travelled 4 hours up and down just to get it on time from the hands of the author directly. Hence, while reading this one, I had expectations of reaching the hidden layer of the personalities which has not been discussed yet in magazines, articles, books and other contents accessed by me. This 230-pages book is surely interesting as it keeps your curiosity alive throughout and you wish to know what happens next in the careers of the three Khans.

 

Author manages to talk about all three of them giving them the same space in the book though there’s little less about Aamir as he’s mostly a private person hence one doesn’t know much about him. Kaveree covers about how they initiated their careers in different ways without knowing each other and gradually, their path intersects and brings all of them on the same track to be competing for all their lives post that. We get to know the kind of struggle they have to go through in terms of their ambitions, roles, personal issues etc. yet their spirit to keep the spark alive within them of performing incessantly. You get to know how deep they used to think even at the start of their career as in one of the instances in the book, both Aamir and Shahrukh accepts that they got successful initially not because they were great actors but just because they were new faces.

 

Author then gets into the space which made the three personalities vulnerable and disheartened due to events that impacted their career or personal lives such as – the kind of investments SRK made for Ra.One as he had huge hope from the movie and what its debacle did to him in terms of confidence and motivation – Similarly, for Aamir Khan, how his divorce affected him and made him take support of alcohol to keep himself sane – for Salman Khan, as all of us know, his broken relationship with Aishwarya and several other events of his life kept knocking him down which made him take unwanted actions which damaged his reputation like anything. Author also talks about the disagreement and a bit of anger both Salman and Aamir had towards their father for bringing in other ladies in their life apart from their mother. I didn’t know about this part at all.

 

Along with talking about the Three Khans and their whole filmography until the recent lockdown era, author talks about various other issues that Bollywood has been dealing with – such as the debate on nepotism, Insider vs Outsider, comparison of actors with yesteryears’ legends, Me Too movement, die-hard competition etc. Bamzai keeps on letting us know about what happened with India parallelly in terms of politics and other issues. She also acknowledges few incidents when each of the Three Khans spoke about something that led them towards controversy. But she has also missed many important events such as SRK’s Wankhede ban, Salman’s involvement with Modi etc. Reading about references of Arjun Rampal’s NCB enquiry and Aamir-Kiran’s beautiful relationship in the book, I was just thinking if author could have waited for little longer, she could have covered Aryan Khan’s case as well as Aamir-Kiran divorce too. The book ends with talking about the new era of Bollywood where multiple actors are becoming popular with the different kind of work/art that is getting created and delivered to us. I just loved reading this whole section as it is so contemporary that I could relate with it.

 

Now talking about the drawbacks about the book- I must say that yes, the book is surely interesting for people who love the three Khans because it just makes you happy to keep reading and knowing about them continuously for hours. But the issue is the kind of hatred that authoress has regularly shown towards Hinduism as religion, Hindus as people and BJP as presently elected government favouring Hindus. She also goes beyond this and tells how people support Hrithik, Akshay, Ajay, Ranbir, Ranveer just because they are Hindus. As far as I know, meeting and discussing about movies and actors with so many people, I have never heard anyone preferring or hating the three Khans for their religion. This is just the garbage filled in the minds of people who think like this – unfortunately, the author here too seems to be from the same section of society.

 

Even on the last page, there’s a reference of criticism towards the current government. Author has regularly emphasised on this point that since the new government has come into the picture, the dynamics have changed for the Muslims and how it has become difficult for the Three Khans to survive. I don’t know in which parallel universe is this happening. Also, I feel that very important part from the three actors’ life has been excluded conveniently which doesn’t give the right picture on their career statistics as well as personal lives. There are many typos in the book – majorly in the 2nd half of the book – it seems that Kaveree tried to complete it on a deadline which couldn’t allow herself, editors and publisher do a final proofing.

 

Overall, I believe along with talking about Khans, this book is also trying to brainwash us towards thinking about Bollywood and cinemas from a religious and political perspective which I believe is truly unwanted. If that part could have been excluded, this book could have served better information on the actors and Bollywood but currently, it’s more about propaganda and agenda against the current Government particularly. I give this book 3.25 stars out of 5.


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Thanks.

 

WRITING BUDDHA 


Monday, November 22, 2021

LIGHTS! WEDDING! LUDHIANA! by Jas Kohli (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

  

36th Book of 2021


There are few authors you always remember because of the unique element they bring on the table. You remember some because they write historical fiction in a completely different way whereas you like another because their mythological fiction makes you go back in time and imagine yourself playing the part of the protagonist. Similarly, one author for me whom I always remember whenever it comes down to humoristic writing is Jas Kohli. Every time he writes a book, he assures that you are actually Laughing Out Loud multiple times while reading his books. Therefore I liked Chetan Bhagat in his initial 3 books because his books carried few instances where he actually made you laugh though the quality has taken a toss now. But Jas Kohli’s books are a complete laugh riot. Specially, the latest one named “Lights! Wedding! Ludhiana!” published by Rupa Publications.

 

The name of the book is kept in the same format as his previous book which was named “LIGHTS! SCALPEL! ROMANCE!” – it had impressed me so much that I had given it a rating of 4.5 stars and this book is no less. It seems as if author’s comic timing is just improving with every book. Particularly, in LWL, what surprised me is how every sentence, ok well, if I have exaggerated, every paragraph makes you laugh at least for the first 2/3rd part of the book. I was just surprised with the quality of writing, command on the language, imagination of the scenes, format of the story, characterization of every member participant in the story and what not.

 

Right from the 1st chapter itself when the author describes the family which is moderately dysfunctional, you start getting the smile on your face. I liked how in this chapter and in every other chapter, even if there’s a character discussed only once, the way author describes his/her personality with complete detailing and backdrop sounds so funny and perfect that you just can’t stop yourself from believing them to be the real characters. The chapter “Walk cum Mock” where husbands are talking about their wives’ expenditure is so damn funny that I just couldn’t stop myself from laughing loudly in every other sentence. Also, the way author portrays Reeta’s anxiety whenever it comes to her looks and fashion makes you relate with many female members you know in your life who are equally self-obsessed.

 

I liked how the story took the turn and dealt with a serious topic in such funny setup in the later part of the book where author very cleverly discusses the challenges of new relationships, adultery, extra-marital affairs, marriage, divorce laws etc. I liked how wittingly this has been executed. Similarly, the environmental issues are laughingly discussed but it speaks of everything that we are facing currently in regards to climate issues.

 

Talking about the drawbacks – I must say that the laughter quotient gets little less in the last 1/3rd part of the book. Also, the wedding part occurs in this section itself and I had high hope as the scenario could have led author to make us laugh more but unfortunately, author ends up describing different marriage ceremonies more than trying to explore places of laughter in them. This ended up disappointing me a bit in the pre-climax and climax.

 

Overall, this is a laugh riot and one of the most entertaining and funny books I have ever read. I will rate it similar to author’s previous work i.e., 4.5 stars out of 5. Go and get it. Highly recommended!


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Thanks.

 

WRITING BUDDHA 


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