Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mumbaistan book review: Love, loss and vengeance culminate into a gripping crime thriller

Film director and first time novelist Piyush Jha wields his pen to come out with ‘Mumbaistan: 3 explosive crime thrillers’ to give the modern day reader three Mumbai-based crime tales- ‘Bomb Day’, ‘Injectionwala’ and ‘Coma Man’. Here is a brief review:

Story number 1: The book opens explosively with ‘Bomb Day’, a crime thriller revolving around an ACP’s mission to capture a terrorist. ACP Hani can be stern, brutal and even fanatic about his obsession of foiling the plans of Aalamzeb, the Pakistani terrorist who has his own devious arrangement of bombing the city. Based entirely on the pulsating city of Mumbai, ‘Bomb Day’ takes you through its various nooks & corners including the paan-stained and urine-stenched bylanes where life takes a different turn once midnight comes calling. Tanvir Khanzada plays the protagonist and assists ACP Hani in his secretive plans. Rabia Bano is a prostitute and another important character in the plot. To an extent, Rabia forms the backbone of the shrewd ACP’s plans as the murky business of prostitution combines with a man-woman intimacy to give birth to a tale of love! The love story between Tanvir and Rabia makes for a pleasant and heart-tugging read. But there is more to it than what meets the eye. Will this ‘love’ help the ACP capture the eluding terrorist? Or will there be a twist in the tale?
While the language is lucid and the narrative quite enjoyable, it is the climax where the readers get jolted out of their cozy armchairs! This story, with its subtext of romance in the backdrop, can be perfectly enjoyed and appreciated even by those who are not into the crime genre. It is a definite must-read!

Story number 2: The second of the three crime thrillers, titled ‘Injectionwala’, is a tale of vengeance carried out by Dr. Porus Udwadia towards the people involved in the atrocious kidney racket business. Although, he starts out by taking a personal revenge for the death of his father, he is egged on by his girlfriend Dr. Saakshi to slay off all the people associated with this heinous crime. He goes about his business by injecting a fatal drug into the veins of his victims. Even though masked before the society and broadly known as the ‘injectionwala’, who becomes more like a national hero, his activities get discovered by a suspended police officer Virkar. However, Virkar stays silent as he witnesses the dramatic climax unfolding before his eyes. The story is written in a refreshing manner with crisp language and an engaging quality. There is a fair bit of sexual act involved as Porus and Saakshi are almost always bedding each other. The ending comes as a chilling shock and even though justice is served, it comes in the form of an intriguing ‘kiss’.
Jha brilliantly takes a chapter from the real-life crime world and weaves it into a thrilling story complemented with a nail-biting suspense. Some readers may be able to guess the last-minute twist in the tale but a bittersweet climax promises dropping jaws.

Story number 3: ‘Coma Man’, the third of the stories, is more of a man’s personal journey to self-discovery when he wakes up from coma after almost 2 decades. The story is akin to a road journey as the protagonist Samir Khanna travels haplessly and lonely through the various nooks and corners of Mumbai (a city which he now fails to recognize owing to its modern makeover) searching for his identity and his wife Bahaar. In the process, he bumps into Raghu Nadar, a municipal councilor, who has a keen and personal interest on this man for a past tragedy which they both share. Samir, widely believed to be dead by most, slowly regains his memory (albeit in sudden flashes) and discovers a horrific secret towards the end. The climax is poignant and one which will make you feel for the ‘coma man’. Once again, there is a compelling quality about this story as Jha tugs at the reader’s emotional side to tell a tale of love, loss, crime and vengeance.

All the 3 crime thrillers have a different story to tell with Mumbai being the only thread connecting them. The protagonists are well chalked out with a touch of vulnerability, hint of emotion and zeal to fight against all odds. An acclaimed Bollywood film director, Piyush Jha clearly showcases his writing abilities through his very 1st novel. Going by its cover page and its title, some people may not pick it up if crime is not their cup of tea. But that would clearly be a big, big mistake!

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