By S.V. Divvaakar. Grade: B+
‘I’m sure you can do a much better job than Bhagath!’
When BB hears these inspiring words from his sexy lady boss, his staid life as a successful analyst in an MNC goes into a tailspin. Bitten by the ego bug and smitten by her, BB sets off on his quest to write a book that’s better than India’s greatest writer Dr. Bhagath’s blockbusters. Nothing unusual about this for BB, who likes a good fight. Except that he and Bhagath had been classmates and friends at college. What follows is a roller-coaster voyage of the debutant author and his book, with all its twists and cul-de-sacs. Brushes with publishers, celebrities, retailers, book chains, and competition with the alliances among giants, mark the challenger’s journey, upping the stakes at every stage.
Will BB catch up with his famous friend?
What will the encounter be like?
Written from inside the ring, Beaten by Bhagath is a gripping tale… the first-ever about the unseen side of the wonderland of Indian fiction.
So, basically the story is like this: A pretty successful analyst, BB, when encouraged by his lady boss, takes it as a challenge to write a better novel than the most successful contemporary author – Dr. Ketan Bhagath. The book entails his journey of ups and downs of writing a novel, dealing with small successes and large failures, insecurities, battling for and with his life as the world around him changes.
The novel begins exactly as the synopsis says. And by exactly, I mean exactly. The author jumps right in to the boss’ cabin where she applauds BB, which sets in motion the aforementioned chain of events.
Let’s get to the dirty details.
The flow of the novel – the way it was written, the language, the structure – everything was really good. The book has been written in an insider point-of-view fashion. But it really teaches some important lessons: it shows the crown of thorns a writer can have to wear to get his brainchild into the open. It shows how quickly everything around you can go to ground. It shows how difficult it can be to pursue your creativity in this ultra-practical, competitive world. But most importantly, it shows how it may seem at one moment that you are ready to take on the world, while the very next moment that very world can crush you, your dreams and your morale.
A special commendation to the idea of new kind of books. This idea really took my fancy. If certain feasibility glitches could be worked out, this could be implemented in the next 20-30 years.
However, the switch between sub-plots was very, very sudden. One moment, BB is struggling with his own failure as a writer, the very next he is into changing the way books are being read. Although this change is supposed to take place, it is like a bad jolt – a bad, hard jolt. The course of the novel changed directions so quickly and so drastically, it actually leaves the reader reeling from shock.
The author introduced too many ideas but they weren’t explored as well. The idea of the new kind of books, the whole new system was very well introduced but not as well elaborated upon. Maybe the length was a constraint, but still this posed a problem.
A very interesting point which is not very easily seen is that of the characterization of the protagonist. The character of BB comes across as a confident man, ready to take on the world with a dream in his eyes and courage in his heart. Towards the end, he comes across as a man defeated by an unjust system. A major facet of the character of BB is indicative of a man facing midlife crisis. The reason why this issue comes up is because there is not a very reasonable explanation as to why a successful analyst with a gift would instead of simply accepting a compliment, take it upon him to fulfill what would seem to be a very drastic objective.
The way in which the rejections have been written, formatting wise, makes a very good impression.
Beaten by Bhagath is one interesting read and certainly recommended for those who want to enter into the writing field.