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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Private India boook review

Private India is a suspense thriller.  It all begins with a series of murders. The victims are only women. The murderer strangulates them with hand woven yellow scarves alike to those which were used by the erstwhile thugs. The murderer also leaves trinkets on the corpses. They point to the nine forms of Durga. The murderer is against womanhood. Why? It has all to do with his/her  mother, principal, pop singer, judge, cosmetic surgeon, journalist, politician, yoga teacher and a cop.
Private India is a private investigation agency. Its head is Santosh who is always in a dilemma what should take precedence- work or whisky. His assistants are Nisha, Mubeen and Hari. His boss is Jack.

Private India takes good hundred pages to build the plot and takes off smoothly thereafter ensuring that you are riveted to your seat. Private India is definitely above average. But still it will disappoint you. Why? Private India is actually Private Mumbai.The novel does not move to any other part of India. The series has got Private LA, Private London, Private Berlin. Then why not Private Mumbai? It does not even explore Mumbai properly. It comes with the same stereotypes which we have come across in novels like Shantaram and Q & A. There is Dharavi and Kamathipura with all its sufferings. So there is a pimp who chews paan. There is a newspaper editor who smokes. There is a gangster who wears heaps of gold and runs the cricket spot betting racket. Not to forget a tobacco chewing cop who has good relations with him. There is a godman who is involved in many illegal activities.. There is amputing of kids for their use as beggars by the begging syndicate. Plus there is ISI a Pakistani terrorist outfit which derives support from a local Muslim doctor. Haven’t we seen all of them n number of times in our very own bollywood movies?

How does Rupesh, the cop, go to jail and enlarge Hari without any court order is a big question? Moreover the writers seem to be unaware that in our country no person can be detained in jail or released from jail without an order of Court. In today’s age it is difficult to believe that there is only one store in Mumbai which is selling the black buckled shoe. There is no explanation as to how Santosh recognizes Firoze Quadri. The murderer calls up the newspaper editor. His soliloquies tell us that he/she is murdering women for publicity.  At the end however we discover that he/she was doing it for very personal reasons. The soliloquies are not only boring but not in sync with the character. Even the prologue of 2006 bomb blasts in the trains is totally misleading. It has nothing to do with the story in hand. The thug connection does not evolve anywhere. How can a girl who has been brought up in a Parsi orphanage with a Christian matron be obsessed with forms of a Hindu goddess? Why does Rupesh see every dead woman naked and ravished? He did not have only sexual feelings towards the woman whom he had lost to our whiskey boy Santosh. There is no scientific evidence to say that gender reassignment surgeries make  a woman strong like a man. Why would a cosmetic surgeon who is best at her job do trivial acts like blackmailing a spa owner that too in a distant land?

The lines like “The fact that one woman’s hobby could often be another woman’s hubby” and “Men who are active in their professional lives tend to be equally active in their personal lives” do entertain. But those were the only two lines which were comical. I know it is a suspense novel and not a humorous one. But if they are sprinkled at two places, they could have been used at more places as well.

In suspense novels the reader knows that the person towards whom the needle of suspicion points is never the culprit. The reader knows that someone who is the last to be suspected is going to be the offender. All that he looks for is some plausible reasoning for his act by joining all the dots together. Unfortunately Private India falters there.

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  1. Haaahaa.. only a Mumbaikar or ex-Mumbaikar will say- Mumbai has not been well explored. I felt the same. Why not Private Mumbai - was the same question that popped up in me.

    Similarities to Bollywood movies, infact Santosh's ex wife n Child part - I find it very similar to...( well I wont say that- u will find it in my book review)

    There is a lot of similarity in our reviews, pls do read mine and u will realize it.

    1. Thank you Viyoma for your comment. I will definitely read your review too