Many years ago, in my early teens, I had bought a audio cassette of a movie. Yes, you heard it right. An audio cassette of a Hindi movie, with all the dialogues, back ground music and the songs. The complete movie without the video. It surprised me, making me wonder why anyone would listen to a movie?
What surprised me even more were books of movie screenplays. A book with the complete dialogues of a movie, sentence after sentence. Like reading a play. Why would anyone want to read that?
Chetan Bhagat’s latest offering, Half Girlfriend, is exactly like that. The screenplay of a movie script. Every page of the book feels like it has been written to be made into a movie. So much that the book is separated into three sections called Acts. Like a play!
Well, that I suppose is the real intent of the book anyways, and no harm there. Who knows, it could probably catch up as a fad pretty soon. Big production houses releasing book versions of the movie before the actual release of the movie, additional source of revenue to the projects. (They have stopped calling them films anyways)
Talking about the book, it is very much in the genre of the author’s previous offerings. Boy meets girl in a cool campus (moving away from the IIT/IIM to Stephens, probably in an attempt to widen the reader base), and falls in love. Add some drama, a little sex, whole lot of daily life situations and lo! You have a story ready.
There is not much relevance of the title in the book, and it seems more a ploy to fulfil the authors fetish obsession with numbers (all his books have a number in them).
Also, as it was touted in the media, there is not much relevance of the “Language divide” – those who know English and those who don’t. This again seems like a concept that has been force fitted into the theme of the book, to make it relevant to the present day reader. (The ongoing UPSC imbroglio makes it good timing)
Relevance, yes. This is one thing that Chetan Bhagat needs to be given complete credit for. He knows the pulse of the nation and what the present day youth is thinking. He knows their fears and the dreams, and the daily challenges they face. English today is a big debate, and many young in the country are waking up to the fact that it is the language skills that matter the most.
English does give nightmares to many, and its importance is only increasing with the increasing number of MNC’s coming into the country. Every young person, from a small town would completely relate to the main protagonist of the book, due to the language embarrassment that he is shown to face.
Also, the author has a knack for fleshing out the daily observations in the most comic manner possible. Gems like,
“I think when rich guys say something, girls find it extra funny”
“When two women don’t share the right vibe, a peaceful hour together is a minor miracle”
Overall, this book, like other books from the author, is an easy read, and pretty run of the mill kinds,
Though many “elitists” would deny having read this book, I am sure everyone would go ahead and read it.
Like it is rightly said about Chetan Bhagat, he truly is the Salman Khan of the literary world.