Tag Archives: Chetan Bhagat

“Half Girlfriend”, By Chetan Bhagat

The tagline was very intriguing and the author Chetan Bhagat has already created a following with earlier books specifically “Two States” and “Five point someone” in my mind. So reading this newest book “Half Girlfriend” was almost certainty.

The idea is very simple like tagline. Poor boy meets rich girl and falls in love but girl agrees only for half girlfriend status due to her own issues in childhood that become clear later in the book. The idea of half girlfriend is great and very delicate to handle but the author did not spent much time in that situation. Very soon it goes from half to nothing since the boy cannot face his friends with half status (sic). There are multiple twists and turns and almost a Bollywood style ending eventually. Interestingly the author has made himself as one of the central character in the book.

What I liked about the book was the simple breezy style of story telling that the author has followed in all his books. There is an interesting plot about Bill Gates visiting a poor school in Bihar and making big donation. What I did not understand was the reason for extended chase that the book shows in New York by the main character for his girl friend. The book is almost written for Bollywood movie. Even when I read “Two States” I felt the same but in that case the story did hold on its own. But in case of this book it is not true. I am sure the movie based on the book will do great if a good director picks it up but the book on its own does not impress.

I am sure I will still read future works by the author but not with same anticipation unless something really interesting comes along.

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“Revolution 2020”, Chetan Bhagat’s Commentary On System

My love-hate relationship with Chetan Bhagat’s writing continues. I had really liked reading “Two States” since the storyline remained integral and did not confuse. A single idea creating the story and taking it to completion. Unfortunately, “Revolution 2020” is not the same. The plot confuses you even though it tries to cover so many topics in one story. It is author’s commentary on India’s education and political system but does not have enough depth to make a mark.

This story is about three friends who grow up in holy city of Varanasi. Two of the boys, both love the same girl, their third friend and girl is completely confused about both of them. Both the boys also have strong ambition. One wants to bring in a revolution and other wants to become rich. What happens in the end is a very messy affair between all of them and you left wondering about the aim of the book.

I liked the three-sided love story angle in the book even though it has been done so many times. Reading it in the narrative style of this author brings some freshness to the story. It is very contemporary and keeps you hooked till the end. But looks like the author wanted to go beyond the love story and ended up mixing it with issue of corruption and education. He talks about how young people prepare for engineering entrance examination and how it has become an industry on its own. How a person who does not get admission in Engineering college ends up opening his own Engineering college. Amazing idea! but what was the need to mix these two plots together.

Even though I am complaining about the book, I still could not put it down after I had started reading it. You want Gopal to win everything in life and not Raghav who is actually after the revolution. Gopal remains the loser who ends up hitting big time in collaboration with corrupt politician but ends up loosing his girl due to his “good” nature. Does it make sense? Looks like it makes to this author. It is quite possible, I would have felt good if Gopal had won the girl in the end.

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Chetan Bhagat’s “Five Point Someone”

This is probably most talked about book in contemporary Indian English writing because of its own standing as well as due to the later adaptation into the movie “3 Idiots” which became the biggest box office hit in Indian movie industry. This book established Chetan Bhagat as successful writer even though he could not get similar success with his later books.

This is a story of 3 friends of who join IIT and soon find how difficult it is to survive. The book talks about all the things that students in this age face or want to experience during their college education. There are failures in exams, differences with professors with the way they want to teach and the way in which students want to learn. There are also relationships, ragging, projects and student rivalry. But most important of all, there is friendship that develops between students who come from very different backgrounds to stay together. The friends made during this time are really special as I can say for sure with my own experience.  

The book is mostly humourous but it has dark side as well about students failing to cope up with academic pressure and then taking extreme step of taking their own life. This book was a really refreshing attempt to write a story in a simple language using today’s events and concerns. Even though the book is a work of fiction, the author who himself studied in IIT has taken a lot of real life stuff as background for the plot of the book.

The movie “3 Idiots” was based on this book but I liked the movie for very different reasons and not necessarily because it was based on “Five Point Someone”.

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Chetan Bhagat’s “Two States”

I have liked this book from Chetan Bhagat most as compared to his other books, even better than “Five Point Someone”. It is a  very simple story where you almost know what is going to be the end but you are curious to read how it is going to happen. The beauty of the book is not in the story as much as it is in the narration of completely different cultures of north and south of India. Again the view is more from the Delhi Guy perspective but still it captures a lot of South Indian Tamil nuances.

The story also feels real to me since I have many friends who have married across different cultures and have gone through similar experiences. To an outsider, it might seem why I am calling it different culture because Krish and Ananya are both from India but Indians would know that Punjabis and Tamilians are as different a culture as possible in everything they do except for common mythology, name of religion and Bollywood. I mentioned the “name of religion” since even if they are Hindus, the practicing and rituals are very different. This difference in culture becomes more pronounced during marriages. To young people the difference is not so much because we all have inherited our education from same system, TV, Internet and Movies but for one generation old people the difference is real and to accept it is very difficult.

To capture this difference and still bring about a union of two families is what makes this book a great read. I read the whole book in one single sitting. I just could not put the book down. Now when I think about it, I am not able to say one particular thing that I would have liked most but while reading it, I could visualize multiple marriages that I have attended both in North and South India.

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