Chetan Bhagat, as most literary enthusiasts would concur, is not a great writer. While he considers himself to be the voice of the Indian youth, no sane person has ever accepted this claim.
In a way, he resembles Salman Khan. No one, in their right minds, acknowledge that they like him, and yet he is the epitome of success (conventional success, for the critics). Undoubtedly, Chetan’s business acumen is one of the best in the Indian publishing industry. His business degree came in handy in his marketing efforts of brand Bhagat. So, when this poster-boy of Desi literary business declared that he’ll write a novel with a female protagonist, it piqued my interest enough for me to pre-order it. Okay, now you can go ahead and judge me. A lot.
But, let me clarify. This isn’t a book review. Not even remotely close to one. The storyline is as predictable as ever. The characters are still the same high-flying, over-achievers with their trivial relationship problems. The great grand Indian wedding poses as the backdrop of this novel yet again, with a few random irritating and intruding aunties thrown in. This time, Chetan seems bolder with his provocative and filmy sex scenes.
But, irrespective of that, here’s a list of things that I liked about the book :
- Successful corporate girl – while Chetan has been mostly liberal about women and their career choices, rarely were his girls as successful as Radhika, the protagonist. A nerdy woman, with clear unabashed needs, seems real enough.
- Office romance – the writer breaks a stereotype or two on this topic. Often, office romance is treated as a slutty affair, in pop lit, where the protagonist sleeps her way to the top. ‘One Indian Girl’ deviates somewhat from the convention and depicts a genuine romantic relationship between two colleagues, which is probably more prevalent in real life.
- Realistic appraisal scenario – while most of her team mates rate her as a top performer, Radhika herself rates herself as an average performer. This scenario did not make me happy, but I could very well relate to it. Women, often, tend to underestimate themselves and lack the confidence to ask for what they deserve.
- Indian wedding drama – Bhagat presents very relatable Indian wedding scenarios, where the bride’s side is expected to adjust more and the bride cannot have an opinion about anything.
- Marketing – well this one isn’t about the content of the book. The way this book was marketed, suggestive of feminist propaganda, while it really had nothing to do with feminism, deserves a special mention. The book has a potentially feminist protagonist, but hasn’t got much to do with feminism.
Have you read the book? Do you agree\disagree with the above points? Comment or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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