Usually, this review would be about a book. But here I have included the 5 books written by Chetan Bhagat who holds the title of “India’s most popular author”. He has made a place in his readers’ hearts with his writing. So let’s analyze why.
Five Point Someone:
This is where the journey began. This book explores the antics of 3 guys who study in the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. It follows them on their journey to live through a system where the definition of success is defined by the total marks received in a 3 hr exam and where creativity and innovation are bottled. It makes fun of the system by making us live through it. Though it dulls out sometimes, it makes for a great read.
One Night @ the Call Center:
India is the land of snake charmers and call centers as many say. This book focuses on the latter. Here God speaks to the disgruntled and frustrated employees of a call center and changes their lives forever. Where the first book was about studies, this book is about what happens after (NOT a sequel). It too makes for a good read but, at times, it comes across as preachy.
The 3 Mistakes of My Life:
Mistake 1: Buying this book.
Mistake 2: Reading this book.
Mistake 3: Not throwing this book in the trash.
Try as I might, I am unable to re-read this book. Because it is one of the worst books ever written. I had to skip many pages just to finish it as soon as possible. And I didn’t miss anything. Here patriotism flows like movie dialogue. Avoid this book if you can.
2 States: The Story of My Marriage:
Just when Chetan Bhagat was losing it, he came up with 2 States. A hilarious story about his marriage to his sweetheart in IIM. It shows the huge divide between North and South India and how the couple beat the odds and get married. Again, as is with all his novels, it seems to have been written for a movie rather than a novel. It redeems itself with its humour largely due to its portrayal of the North and South mentalities.
Why does Chetan Bhagat do this? Revolution 20-20 had great potential. Its title is the most misleading aspect. Firstly, there is no serious revolution. Secondly, it is a pathetic love story. Thirdly, any revolution you notice hardly makes 20% of the book. When you turn the pages, it talks of a boy’s rise to riches through conventional Indian means (bribes, corruption) and his unrequited love. The story talks about the corrupt system but never makes any attempt to resolve it. It focuses more on the love story rather than the struggles and trials leading to a revolution.
Now, each of these books has one theme in common. It appeals to a large audience because they picture themselves as part of the system. They have been through the same hardships as the characters in these books. Whether in studies, at jobs or in marriage, they have experienced the ups and downs. Chetan Bhagat is a popular author. He is a bestseller. As long as he writes stories about corrupt politicians, the education system and the Indian middle class he will be popular. But he must make sure that this popularity does not turn him into churning screenplays rather than books.