So I decided to get back on the book review bandwagon once again, and picked up this title by well known Indian author – Ravi Subramanian – who has usually written Banking thrillers, and this was publicized as his first foray into ‘Romantic intrigue’. I haven’t read any books in this particular genre, and quite honestly, I have never been a big fan of the romance genre itself. But I was curious to find out how an Indian author dealt with it.
I haven’t also read any of his older books. I did start ‘If God was a Banker’ years ago when it was released, and I distinctly remember putting it down after page three, because of a particular sentence that described a female character with the word ‘bomb’. Now I’m not feminist, but this didn’t go down very well with the little bit of literary snobbishness I am guilty of. I mean, ‘bomb’? But a long time has passed since then, I thought it was time to give the author another shot.
So here’s my two-pence. The story is about an IIM-B alumnus, banker turned famous commercial author, Aditya Kapoor, and his tryst with yet another IIM-B student, almost banker and wannabe famous author, Shreya Kaushik, some 15 years his junior. Their’s is the ‘romantic intrigue’ that was spoken of, and the story is quite a candidate for a Bollywood movie, considering it has almost all the elements we need for on – attraction, love, ego-clashes, betrayal, sentiments, ambitions, revenge and a fair bit of drama. But how well does it work is the question.
My answer is, just about ok. I got bored initially, it seemed like an unnecessary tale of infidelity and mid-life crisis. But as the story progressed, it got interesting to the extent that there were twists and things happened, the characters showed shades of grey, instead of the stark blacks and whites, and I actually wanted to finish the story, know how it ended. And so, I kept at it, and credit to the author, the book kept me engrossed for a while.
The problem came to the fore when it came towards the end. I was left feeling betrayed – by the sheer laziness and convenience with which things were wrapped up. The characters, which seemed to be building up through the story, fell flat by the end, and I felt there was no effort at making them more realistic, more genuine. A hurried closure, a random twist, and we were done. So many parts in the story which you might have wanted a bit more closure on, were left gaping open. It was like the author realized that this had to be made into a Bollywood movie and hence the only befitting end was what was presented. As I said, absolute anti-climax.
I am not saying my expectations were high, they were not, I wasn’t expecting a literary gem when the author himself had promised us a comfortable, laid-back read; which is why I am not getting into the language used or the prose in itself at all. But when you pick up a paper-back, you want a story that keeps you engrossed, and has a justifiable end to it. In this case, the latter element was missing.
Would I recommend it? Well, not really, unless you are the kind who wants something easy to read, and doesn’t nitpick on loopholes in the story line and characters and writing. If you couldn’t care about all that and just want entertainment, go ahead. Or better still, wait for it to be made into a movie with Salman Khan starring in it.