February 18, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Battle for Bittora by Anuja Chauhan

Another romantic political manifesto this year after Tuhin Sinha’s third novel. I attended the launch of this book in Mumbai with Mr. Saif Ali Khan cutting the ribbon and the author reading some extremely delightful passages in her accented voice while Harper Collin’s extremely talented ed, Neelini Sarkar gave her company. Anuja Chauhan’s first book ‘The Zoya Factor’ was one of the best chick-lit fiction you would ever read. There was a huge buzz surrounding Chauhan’s current novel, esp. after her first one being a runaway success and being adapted into a movie by SRK’s Redchillies entertainment though the author does not wish to update any details. The author is in talks with production houses for the second one too and so you can expect the book to be as sensational as the first one.

Or perhaps more?

The book hooked me on as it has full-on romance and the theme is romantic too and being a romance writer, I could not have asked for a better read. The plot is simple and involves two young childhood friends, who always had feelings for each other but end up standing against each other as opponents from rival political parties in the Bittoragarh election. Sarojini Pande works for an animation studio designing the Harpic Kitaanos (germs), when ultimately her bossy grandmother, the famous Pushpa Pande, retired MP, lands up at her city office to drag her to Bittora so that she can help the old lady with making a comeback in politics. Things take a U-turn when the top brass of the party decides to go for young blood instead of the old hag and immediately Sarojini is pushed into politics as a candidate of Pragati party, a spoof of the Congress. 

And her opponent is none other than Zain Altaf Khan, her childhood best-buddy who has not been in touch with her for the last nine years following an embarrassing incident. Zain Altaf Khan is a foreign return, tall, muscular, popular and he can dance too (though that is not shown but I assume). Since the book has released, I have seen girls change their relationship status on Facebook to ‘In a relationship with: Zain Altaf Khan’. Naïve Sarojini has to hold herself from falling for the suave Zain who also is an ex-royal of Bittora and the candidate of the IJP, a pro-Hindu party and a spoof of (need I say?). At the same time, the reader can see Sarojini aka Jinni transforming from a dumb animator to a shrewd politician with the blessings of her grandmother and balancing her urban beliefs with the smell of the Pavit Pradesh soil. From a lost cause situation, she manages to draw level with the IJP in a state where the IJP supposedly has the upper hand. Some very interesting Hinglish tickles you in the ribs now and then, esp. Sarojini’s grandma’s broken and accented English would give you many unintended innuendos. Secondary characters whom one can relate to like Aawar Pappu, the tough Munni, driver Jugatram, wrestler Rocketsingh, reporter Nulwallah, kleptomaniac Gudia aunty, Jinni’s friend Gaimon Rumi, the armpit-hair chewing Hasinaben and even the pet retriever, Ponky manage to extract a few laughs and emotions here and there. The dialogue flows smoothly and Chauhan’s keen eye for Indian politics in a simple tone delights the reader no end. Sometimes the book tends to stretch on and there is no movement in the story. Not recommended if you are seeking a high literary dosage but a very bright green signal, if you need a full paisa vasool, extremely well drafted book. Yes, highly recommended for young people with no interest in politics and who still daydream about their childhood sweethearts. I give this a 4.4/5!!!

Get it from Flipkart.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for this nice book review. I enjoyed it. I read book reviews on different sites, I find your review very genuine and orignal.

Faraaz Kazi said...

Thanks Akash. There will be many more to come :)

rohit said...

Must be an enjoyable read Battle For Bittora by Anuja Chauhan. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

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