Review: The Paperback Badshah

BY IN A, General Fiction, Young-Adult NO COMMENTS YET Abhay Nagarajan, funny, Quick read


By Abhay Nagarajan. Grade: A

‘The Paperback Badshah’ can be best described as a ‘LOL’ and ‘ROFL’ sort of a novel. Yes, you will simply die laughing reading this comical journey of a wannabe author and his (mis)adventures. A perfect remedy for broken hearts and depressed souls – try this book and get back to your laughing and smiling ways.

Srishti Publishers has churned out bestsellers in the past, often posing as a much needed platform for new authors who subsequently started ruling the roost with their light Indian fiction. In Abhay Nagarajan they have found another storyteller with a lot of promise. With his previous two novels, ‘Corporate Atyachaar’ and ‘The Off-Site Tamasha’ scoring high in the best sellers list, Abhay successfully proves his mettle yet again.

‘In life…you can choose to become a specialist or a generalist. But in love, please don’t become a reluctant fundamentalist. Instead become a love scientist.’

-Raghu Balakrishnan


Raghu Balakrishnan is a laidback 25 year old, who quits his regular job as a financial advisor to focus single-mindedly on his dream of becoming a published author in India. He stays with his parents. They reluctantly tolerate his new found creative ‘nonsense’ as he works on his book, a love story, which he titles The Paperback Badshah.

As time passes by, he realizes that writing the book is just one part of the dream.

How did one go about getting it published?

What about the marketing and promotion?

What about reactions from the readers?

Would it open up the faucets of love in their hearts or would it irritate them, given the sheer absurdity of the plot?

Along the way, will Raghu also get lucky in matters of the heart?

Find out by joining him in his entertaining journey, as he chases his writing dream to eventually become a published ‘100 Rupee’ paperback author.

The plot revolves around Raghu Balakrishnan, 25, who works as a financial advisor. However, he is often criticized by his supervisors for not performing his duties as per expectations. He is rated as an underperforming resource. Raghu nurses a secret dream to become an author. He wants to write books and gather fame just like TB, whose works are loved by the youth but slammed hard by the literary critics. To fulfill his aim, Raghu resigns from his job and starts working on his story named ‘The Paperback Badshah’. Thus begins ‘The Comical Journey of a 100 Rupee Author.’

The novel is divided into parts, each one dealing with the different phases in Raghu’s quest towards his goal. Raghu’s journey unfolds like a series of events which are related to one another, drawing our attention as we get keen to know what would happen next. What scores highly in this novel is the humour quotient. Yes, as I have mentioned earlier, this story is full of comical incidents that will tickle your bones all the way.

And that’s why I applaud the author. It’s not easy to write comedy. It’s not easy to make people smile and forget their worries in the modern stressful way of life. But author Abhay attempts just that, and succeeds. The first chapter introduces the character of TB, and trust me, you wouldn’t like to put the book away after that. However, do not expect this book to be a work of great literary fiction with artistic descriptions and neat vocabulary. It is a simple story laid out in a simpler language, often punctuated by Hindi words. However, it is different in the way it has been treated. Several attempts have been made at dealing with chasing your dreams, but the fun factor in this story makes it unique.

The characterization is superb, and each character leaves a lasting impression on your mind. Raghu as the central protagonist is someone whom all of us can relate to. Then there are his parents who, like all conventional Indian parents, want to see their child in a safe job and not take risks by quitting his/her source of income and start working on something that they believe is more of a fantasy than a feasible career option.

There are Sweety and Roma, the two female leads in the story, absolutely different from each other. Raghu’s meeting with them, and his interactions with his colleagues are fun to read. There would be that special moment in almost every chapter that will make you stand up and clap for the author who made you smile so effortlessly. Seriously, isn’t that what we all need – a smile?

And yes, do not miss the chapter where Raghu describes the plot of his story in details. It is mad and crazy, but nevertheless fun to read. This book must be read, over and over again. This Paperback is surely a Badshah, sharing flashes of laughter among its readers.