Friday, February 1, 2013

Book Review: RIP - Mukul Deva

It's raining books. Literally. So much so that I've had a shelf full of brand new books lying unread for a while now, and yet I have no time to even touch them, as the BlogAdda folks have gotten super generous lately and are showering more and more books on this poor soul. But I've stopped applying for any more reviews now, for some time at least. This one's going to be my last book review for a few weeks to come.

So finally I had a really good read after a long long time. Probably after Shantaram (sigh). It took me a little over 4 days to read it through, and given the amount of study pressure looming over my head currently, this is equivalent of my finishing a book in less than one day. FTW. But this book, RIP, was good. Real good.

Here's how the cannonball of a plot goes.

RIP - The Resurgent Indian Patriots, led by Colonel Krishna Athawale - is a team of six ex para commandos of the Indian Army who're tired of watching the country continuously being raped and looted by the gang of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. They thus form RIP, and go about executing carefully chosen targets out of the many corrupt men in the recent news, and warn the government to take concrete action to bring the corrupt circle of men to justice and to bring back the country's money, else they would keep killing more and more people of significance. The threats and the flawlessly executed killings take the nation by storm. The government balks, the public comes all out in favor of the RIP, and every corrupt official runs for cover.


Now while the CBI is on their toes looking everywhere for the self-appointed vigilantes, in comes another ex para commando gone rogue, Raghav Bhagat, who is secretly hired by the home minister to hunt down the RIP and kill them before the CBI nabs them alive. The fact that the head of the RIP, Krishna, is getting dangerously close to Bhagat's soon-to-be ex-wife makes up the necessary fuel for him to vow to bring them down, no matter how. Thus begins a dangerous game of cat and mouse, only, the cat and the mice here are all highly trained commandos who know how to do their job well and to leave no marks behind. In this battle of wits between genius minds, who perishes? And who makes it alive to taste victory? More importantly, is justice finally served? Makes for a delicious, nail-bitingly fast-paced novel.

Sample this:
All these years, no matter which party came to power, they all survived because all of them were in cahoots. All of them aware that if they kept quiet about the others, they in turn would keep quiet about them, and everyone got to milk the nation. That is how the Indian politician had survived all these years. That is why no Indian politician had ever been found guilty of any wrongdoing or convicted by any court. RIP had threatened the status quo in a manner that had never happened before. 'That is why we...you have to find them and stop them.'
Powerful words, and every bit true.

Mukul Deva is widely lauded as the best Indian military thriller writer, and a pioneer in that genre of literature in the country. And quite rightfully so. The USP of the book lies in a number of things. One, the author's fast-paced yet lucid narration. It doesn't confuse you, despite the insane amounts of intricacy this particular genre can involve. At the same time, two, he blends all that gripping action with an underlying emotional track involving the main characters. It helps you instantly connect with the characters, no matter whether you even understand half of the military imagery or not. The way he narrates the events, you can actually see the scenes unfolding in front of your eyes, like an action film. But best of all, according to me, was the way Mukul Deva has fashioned most of his characters based on political figures of note - Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Sadhu Yadav, Anna Hazare et al - and cleverly disguised them under telltale names - Sheila Kaul, Ranvijay Kaul, Lalit Yadav, Sheru Yadav, Arvind Hazarika - spot the uncanny resemblance? It's outright suggestive and at the same time politically correct.

All of this, combined with very simple yet powerful language, makes the novel a totally worthy read. I kept aside my studies to finish it, and that speaks volumes in RIP's praise. More such books should be written. They'd sell like hot cakes, and may also bring more awareness about our country's sorry political state to the people, maybe serving as fuel for widespread indignation and rebellion against the corrupt pigs. Or maybe I'm just day dreaming. Well, that sure is a whole lot of maybes. But then, what's wrong with being an eternal optimist?

I guess I just liked the book a bit too much. I'd give it 4 stars out of 5.


(This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books yourself.)
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