Sunday, October 11, 2009


Inter caste marriages have been a pet plot for numerous filmmakers in our country. It is one theme where the different requirements of commercial cinema fall in place unobtrusively, be it naturally happening comedy, Bgm backed Drama or the tear jerking mushy sentiments. So why take something well established in celluloid and reweave it as a printed work? So that it can once again be screen tested in the filmy version? That, apparently, is the reason for Chetan Bhagat’s latest attempt…2 STATES (he subtitles it as “the story of my marriage”).

Krish (IIM-A) falls for Ananya (IIM-A) and they decide to marry. So what is there in this one line to make a book out of? Well, how about this line…Krish MALHOTRA (IIM-A) falls for Ananya SWAMINATHAN (IIM-A) and they decide to marry. Sounds cheesy doesn’t it? And 100% Indian Commercial Movie Material. As you would have guessed it by now, the book deals with the success story of their love, along with their struggle to gain the consent of their parents’ for both of them and mutually as well. As the book gist goes…” Boy loves Girl. Girl loves Boy. They get married. But, in India a few extra steps follow. Boy loves girl. Girl loves boy. Girl’s family has to love Boy. Boy’s family has to love Girl. Girl’s family has to love Boy’s family…”

First things first, the book has its fair share of niceties. The way humour is sprinkled all over the 260 odd pages is something which makes its publication worth the effort. Intelligence and wit is as palpable in this book as it was in Five point Someone. And one does not need to be reminded as to where the author developed this flair. Chetan Bhagat is also a very candid writer and warns us before itself that he is no literary stalwart to kindle our emotional senses. He writes to entertain. He has stated this on numerous occasions even before the release of this book, so we can spare him for going over the same old formula he adheres to…Flash back mode…some love…some pain…some sex…more sex…some emotion and a filmy ending. Chetan has also learnt from his previous mistake (titled “The Three Mistakes of My life”) and steered clear of over dramatization of the climax and unnecessary indulgence into unrealistic things (like a poor Indian becoming a budding Aussie cricketer.) The book is worth a read at least once, to savour a north Indian’s view of Tamilians and Chennai. Chetan, shrewdly, tries to win the average tamilian heart by resorting to the most saleable product in the state. The following lines from the book will exemplify my claim…

We passed a giant, fifty-feet-tall film poster as we entered Nungambakkam. The driver stopped the auto. He craned his neck out of his auto and folded his hands.

“What?” I gestured.

“Thalaivar”, he said, pointing to the poster.

I looked out. The poster was for a movie called PADAYAPPA. I saw the actors and recognized only one. “Rajnikant?” I asked.

The auto driver broke into a huge grin. I had recognized at least one landmark in this city.

The above lines brought an instant smile to my face, as it would to every existing Tamilian.

The author also cleverly takes a dig at both tamilian and Punjabi life styles and finally admits that each one should be respected for its uniqueness. The two page italicized mention of a huge spat between the protagonist and his father is written beautifully and strikes a chord.

Other than the above mentioned niceties, there is nothing very worthwhile in the book. It is a renewed attempt by Chetan to woo more filmmakers into copyrighting his work for filming. Its worth a read though, for it provides some fun, some laughs, some more fun and also acts as a sort of stress busting exercise.

Verdict: Go For It on a nice breezy Sunday.

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