Chetan Bhagat’s ‘One Indian Girl’ hit the stands a couple of months ago. There were a lot of hopes and expectations when the book was being marketed and promoted by the publisher and the author. And let’s admit that Chetan has got a significant readership – a fact which many writers who claim to be literary and a class apart might not like. Despite criticism from several quarters, his readers love to spend on his books and religiously follow him. So was the craze during the launch of this novel.
In this novel, Chetan has tried to take a different stance. And we must appreciate his efforts, although his efforts fell short and do seem to hang around the old stories he has served in his past novels. I thought I might be opinionated and biased while issuing a review. So I took a different route and searched for a few of his die-hard fans (will not reveal the names) who had bitter arguments with me in the past over his books.
The idea was to listen to them after they have read the book. I half-heatedly started praising Chetan Bhagat in front of them to manifest how I liked the book and to know what they felt as they might have read the book by now. In return I got raised brows and awkward looks. They probably assumed that I’m doing it to falsely please them. Their opinion did not come easy. I had to wait for it. Why wasn’t it quick this time?, I thought. So I sat and waited for hours, had tea and dinner with them. Peace prevailed. They held up their opinion and tried to engage me into gossips that I didn’t have interest in. Surprised I was. I did not leave their residence until they outrightly tell me their heart.
Finally all hell broke loose. They called me names and blasted Bhagat like anything. “Total waste of time, money, effort .Complete nonsense I don’t have to words to describe how low I felt after I finished the novel,” she shouted. Another one went a step further called Chetan Bhagat ‘penny-sucker’ in times of cash-crunch.
I went to a host of other traditional Chetan Bhagat fans in the hope that they may have endeavored to find something interesting in it. I was helpless. I did not get any with positive notes. None was truly satisfied. Most disregarded the book. I am not lying.
By writing this piece I do not want to pass on any opinion. But I would warn readers from buying any of his books. This is a BIG ‘NO’.
I discovered one poem on Amazon.in by an anonymous reader which describes the book in an interesting poetic manner. I hope you would enjoy it. Here it goes:
Chetan! Chetan! Who are you?
Where are you headed, do you have a clue?
I bought your book and read it through,
Trust me dear, there is nothing new!
A horny hero and a pretty heroine,
A prestigious college, stereotypic routine!
The story line is an absolute miss,
Front page ad in TOI, for a book like this?
The back cover talks about Hindi and English,
All that is just plain marketing rubbish.
This book breaks no language differences,
Hasn’t even escaped Bhagat’s prejudiced preferences.
I loved you once when you wrote good fun.
Best of all, ‘Five Point Someone’.
Since then you are stooping to your lowest low,
Is One Indian Girl , your final blow?
Same story twice, can be an honest mistake.
But three and four times? Give me a break!
Name your leads and share your location,
I can write your next story to Bhagat’s perfection.
“Simple English is my style”,
Says Chetan Bhagat all the time.
I am happy with that, totally fine.
But excuse me mister, where is the storyline?
Your sexist one-liners are witty no more,
Don’t you remember, you’ve told them before?
You claim that your writing is for the rich to the slums,
They have better IQs than that, don’t underestimate them.
You are an author who could have been!
You’ve let it go for the silver screen.
Are you trying to increase you reader hood?
Or simply selling out to Bollywood?
There have been authors just like you,
Who’ve written good books and screenplays too.
But you’ve got too carried away and lost the act,
And quoting your Alma matter to hide that fact.
Chetan O’ Chetan, Where are you?
I am not an elitist, I used to really like you.
Give us simple but also different and new.
Slow your star-chase and get real dude!