Once upon a time, there was a Bihari boy called Madhav. He fell in love with a rich girl from Delhi called Riya. Madhav didnt speak English well. Riya did. Madhav wanted a relationship. Riya didn’t. Riya just wanted friendship. Madhav didn’t. Riya suggested a compromise. She agreed to be his half-girlfriend.
~ Book Blurb
I’ve this kind of love-hate relationship with Chetan Bhagat. Somehow, I feel compelled to read his novels and then hate it.
So, this wasn’t new either. And no, I did not pre-order the book like half the population in India did. (Although a friend of mine did, and I read it from her.)
This is one formula that CB has been following for a few books now.
(1) Begin with a dramatic prologue: cues, suicidal instincts in 2 States, suicide in The Three Mistakes of my Life, and now death (believed) in this one.
(2) Launch a Bollywood style masala love story. With absolutely no plot.
(3) Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. All ends well.
And this was no exception.
In fact, it was worse than the other novels by him.
2 states was believable and plausible, to say the least.
Revolution 2020 and 3 mistakes of my life had some kind of plot, at the very least. However vague.
But, this was vague to the extreme.
The entire book seemed like a mismatch of a lot of Bollywood movies (Ranjhanaa for one) with a hint of The Walk to Remember thrown in for good measure. I’m sorry Chetan Bhagat, but, I don’t really get the romance (if you can even call it that) between Riya and Madhav. At least your other novels had some kind of a love story. This had plain creepy, stalking.
Coming from a village boy from Bihar, who had just landed in Delhi, thoughts like dating and girlfriends, seem a bit too fake. Although, the chauvinist mentality can be believed. Isn’t it obvious though? Madhav plays basketball better than Riya, although Riya was rich enough to have professional trainers, because,…. Wait for it…. Madhav is a boy.
Madhav has the right to tell Riya, “F*** me or f*** off”, but when Riya leaves him for that, she turns out to be the evil witch.
A bit too cheesy (bit? Pfft. Whom am I kidding!?) and clichéd with Madhav being a ‘prince’ of an obscure village in Bihar. And Riya being the ‘un-typical’ rich girl, who hates her family and runs away.
St.Stephen’s is one of the toughest colleges to get into, in India. But, our beloved protagonist, as idiotic as he is, manages to get in. And the wonderful lady quits it in her second year to have an arranged marriage with a man who told her that, after marriage, she could be his travel partner as he travels around the world. (which sane person ever quits St. Stephen’s on as flimsy as an excuse as that!?) The so-called multi-million happy wedding takes place, and a divorce follows soon, because the Prince Charming turns out to be abusive. But, Riya’s mother is more worried about what ‘the society will think about her divorce’ than her daughter’s safety.
There are quite a lot of plot holes as well. Riya divorces her husband because she finds incriminating photos on Whatsapp on her husband’s phone in 2008.
Whatsapp was founded only in 2009. Conclusion: CB doesn’t know to use Wikipedia either.
I’m sorry Chetan Bhagat fans, but this was one book that totally pissed me off. Yes, I know. I know that he’s a writer for the masses and many Indians started reading because of his novels.
But, I’m not convinced.
Redeeming points: Slightly relatable at times, to people from India or for who have an experience with Indian colleges.
Rating: One star itself is a bit too much for this book, maybe.
Bottom line: Definitely not a love story. More like a stalking predator and a lady with Stockholm Syndrome.