Monday, December 21, 2009

Two States

Author: Chetan Bhagat;
Pages: 270;
Genre: Indian Fiction;
Rating: 3.5/5; (only for the drama & entertainment)

I remember when I read Five Point Someone years back I had enjoyed it a lot and I was eagerly waiting to read Chetan Bhagat's second book; but unfortunately One Night at the Call Center was a huge disappointment. I had decided never to read his book again and I didn't pick up 3 mistakes of my life. To me, his writing looks very commercial and soap-opera-like. Every book of his is being made into a Bollywood movie (which is again commercialized) and it seems like the books are written more like a script for Bollywood than a work of literature. I am not a writer to critique but having read books by a lot of authors across the world I feel his language & writing skills are very ordinary and something which I cannot appreciate. Well, for we all know he himself has never claimed to be literary. I have read much better Indian "writers" and I'm quite surprised to see New York Times calling him "..the best selling English-Novelist in Indian history..." Anyway, the books are priced so low (Rs.95) that no one would probably even think twice before buying the book, so am sure by the sales figures, his books are definitely the best-selling ones...

Not wanting to sound too critical, I did enjoy reading his latest book Two States a lot. Mainly because it's the story of his own marriage and it's very close to reality (he says the readers should still consider it as a work of fiction). It's always nice to read a true story...though it was full of drama and very filmy & spiced up, it was still entertaining and quite engrossing and managed to hold my interest till the last page. But I still stick to my point that the writing style was extremely ordinary and definitely not for literary fans.

The plot is quite predictable. The story is about a couple at IIMA, Krish (a Punjabi boy) and Ananya (a Tam Bram) who fall in love and struggle to get married. The catch is that they dont want to elope and want both the family's approval for the wedding. So they take turns to win each other's families and it doesn't end there 'coz in Indian you dont just marry the guy/girl, you marry the family! So they try hard to get the 2 families to like each other, which in reality, is a HUGE thing to accomplish!

What I liked is that the book draws your attention to the huge cultural differences and racism that still exist in India across various states. People still face the dilemma to marry someone outside their clan. Couples themselves wonder if it is worth it to marry by making the entire family unhappy?

Irrespective of the cliches, the book is worth a read once, to know what couples from different communities (esp north/south india) go through because of the society and family norms...

If you are looking for something to make you laugh or to lighten your mood between serious books, then this is a perfect choice!


Shweta said...

I liked his Five Point Someone too. After that his others book were a huge disappointment to me.

When I read 2 States it was a recall of DDLJ and I kept waiting for it to be something more but other than the entertainment value it had nothing to it. :) I am sure a movie will be out on this very soon :)

Great review.

Pratima said...

I was pretty much like DDLJ :) lot of cliches and drama..that's all it is..