Tag Archives: Rupa Publications

Comparing Books One Indian Girl, The Four Patriots


In October first week, Rupa Publications launched two fiction books- Chetan Bhagat’s ‘One Indian Girl’ and Sumit Agarwal’s ‘The Four Patriots’. Interestingly, both these books are hitting the right notes at the right time; clearly winning the sentiments of Indian readers. No doubt Rupa is called ‘The House of Bestsellers’!

One Indian Girl by Chetan BhagatThe Four Patriots by Sumit Agarwal

One Indian Girl & The Four Patriots : Points of Parity and Difference 

1.Contemporary Fiction

Both the books are contemporary fiction. While ‘One Indian Girl’ is like the other fiction works of Chetan Bhagat involving romance and youth, ‘The Four Patriots’ has elements of patriotism, politics and thriller.

2. Based on issues in Indian Society

Both the books address issues prevalent in the Indian society.

One Indian Girl is clearly based on women empowerment and feminism – topics on tip of tongue.  The recent movie ‘PINK’, supporting an altogether different theme of feminism, brought Indian women in picture and this worked for Chetan Bhagat. ‘One Indian Girl’ had record breaking pre-orders of 2 Lakh copies by 20th September, 11 days before official launch of the book!

The Four Patriots is based on four individuals dissatisfied with the system, who set on a journey to change things and bring back glory to the nation. Clearly based on patriotism, it has elements of Terrorism, poor performance in Olympics, Caste-based reservations, water issues between states, thereby clearly taking public sentiments hands on. The recent Uri attacks, surgical strikes and approach with Pakistan is icing on the cake for Sumit.

3. Chetan Bhagat & Sumit Agarwal

While Chetan Bhagat is a brand in himself, a youth icon; Sumit Agarwal is a first time writer.  Just like Chetan Bhagat, Sumit is also an IITian getting into writing. (Seems like IITians don’t want to be just engineers!) Chetan is an investment banker, a columnist, screenplay writer, speaker and motivator and has been judge in shows like Nach Baliye (weird!). Sumit Agarwal is a director of a chemical business, singer and runs NGOs in Kanpur. They belong to same age group.

4. Keep it simple silly!

Simple English – Chetan Bhagat’s signature. Sumit Agarwal’s book follows the same. Simple and Lucid. Easy and written for all.

5. Heroes & Villains 

Every story has heroes and villains. In ‘One Indian Girl’, there is a heroine – Radhika. ( Rahul Gandhi will be happy with Chetan Bhagat empowering a woman!) And the boyfriends, mother, aunts … the society are villains! Chetan Bhagat has portrayed mother of Radhika as orthodox, thinking always of what people will say.

‘The Four Patriots’ has four lead characters suffering at the hands of the system. Patriotism totally ingrained in these guys, they went on to fight elections and become ministers of the country. But when it’s politics, there will be all sorts of villains. Corrupt politicians, scamsters, anti-nationals, terrorists and naxals. Relatable to the real life political-national scenario.. isn’t it?

6. Sex and No Sex!

Chetan Bhagat is known for his marketing gimmicks. One Indian Girl got trending for Page No. 57. Guess what Chetan must have placed. Sex! Like he does it in all his books. Explicit sex. Even when it is not required to show to the extent. Neither it is some E.L.James work nor it is the core theme of the book. He knows well how to attract the Indian non-readers. Thankfully, he’s got no Pahlaj Nihlani for books!

Sumit Agarwal has garnished patriotism with romance and love. No sex. There are moments in ‘The Four Patriots’ but he maintains the sanctity of the book’s theme.

7. Marketing Gimmicks

Ask authors and they say, ‘Writing is easy, Marketing is tough!’ Authors these days try innovative ideas to promote their books.

Apart from Press releases, grand book launches, video teasers and contests, Chetan Bhagat went to Arnub with a U! The team at TVF and Bhagat went on to humiliating Chetan Bhagat and his works. Arnub literally spits on his book! Chetan shows his waxed leg to promote his research on feminism for ‘One Indian Girl’. And if that was low, he also agrees to show his stupid dancing clip on Nach Baliye stage. Lows of negative publicity! And not to forget how he promised sex in the teaser itself!

Negative promotion of One Indian Girl with TVF, Arnub

Negative promotion of One Indian Girl with TVF, Arnub

Sumit Agarwal went on to develop a 5 minute trailer of the book ‘The Four Patriots’, using actors to create a Bollywood style fast-paced drama. He composed theme song titled ‘Four Patriots hai hum’. He even created 14 episode series of ‘Kya aap Deshbhakt kehlane e layak hai?’ 10 sec ads to promote the theme of his book.

Image result for Sumit Agarwal14 episode series of ‘Kya aap Deshbhakt hai?’ for The Four Patriots

8. Soon to be a major motion picture

Both the books are written such that they can be converted to Bollywood movies. Chetan Bhagat has a series of books converted to motion pictures. No surprise if One Indian Girl finds its way to a big Bollywood banner.

Image result for chetan bhagat one indian girl

Sumit Agarwal stated on the launch of ‘The Four Patriots’ that few Bollywood houses are looking forward to convert it to a movie script.  Interestingly, there were two directors present at the launch – Vivek Agnihotri and Jaideep Sen. In fact, Jaideep Sen gave his nod to the fact that he is looking forward to convert it to a movie script. Although Sumit Agarwal hasn’t decided yet.

 Image result for sumit agarwal book launch

However, Sumit Agarwal has a long way to go. Chetan Bhagat is the most loved and hated Indian author simultaneously. It has taken books, controversies and what not to become what he is today. A good book is just not enough!

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THE FOUR PATRIOTS | BOOK REVIEW


the-four-patriots

Getting back to book reviewing after a long time and what better can it be than reviewing a book on change, optimism, patriotism, leadership, youth and difference! Please see the book is not meant to critiquing the art and science of writing but is all about the long required change that everyone of us so deeply crave for and hence an opinion on likability is provided here.

I thank the author Sumit Agarwal for giving me this opportunity to review his work before the book release on 29th September, 2016.

The book is reviewed with the help of DROPS framework developed by me to better understand the likability of the book.

Book Review : THE FOUR PATRIOTS
DROPS FRAMEWORK FOR FICTION – Created by Smit Kothari D=Detailing to work R=Realistic weaving of the fiction O=Organized or structured story line P=Plot and Characters S=Story telling Book Review : THE FOUR PATRIOTS

DROPS framework for fiction forms of 5 critical elements in any fiction work.

D = Detailing to work.  Score : 3/5

We must genuinely appreciate the amount of research done and the facts put forward for a piece of fiction, where there is definitely some freedom in terms of moulding of facts. The facts can easily be spotted throughout the book and is definitely large in comparison to some popular fiction authors like Chetan Bhagat or Sidney Sheldon; but when compared with the works of  Dan Brown, you are definitely expecting more! You may catch something on MNREGA, election costs, collegium, JPCs or challenges associated with sports, reservation, cleanliness, social security, etc. while there are a lot of other critical issues in India and an equivalently large fact-file!

The detailing of main characters is good enough and we can gradually create a mental picture of them. But then, other supporting characters are loosely worked out. The characters from media especially have a weak outline and an equally weak dialogue delivery.

R = Realistic weaving of the fiction.  Score : 3.5/5

We don’t expect reality in fiction,  but a work so neatly weaved that you connect reality with it. Unfortunately, patriotism today is more of a fiction than a reality. Author’s attempts at bringing patriotism back by creating a fantasy world where things change for India seems highly optimistic (but not impossible anytime!). One may definitely argue how difficult it is for a nation so large and diverse to bring about such a large change that the book presents to us. The book does not tell us how the four main characters become such important faces in so short time and become core party members; some may even think if that’s possible (see : AAP’s journey and Kejriwal’s rise to CM). It is also strange to see how there is little opposition within party (although there is!) to the 4 main characters handling all the major portfolios, that too multiple (each handling 3 major portfolios at a time). There are many such highly optimistic things, some with explanation, some without! But the best part is that you are ready to accept at some of those points, owing to the explanation and the gripping storyline!

O = Organized.  Score : 4/5

Simple organization of the book. Characters lives are rolled out and it shows their early lives. The ‘why did they join politics’ perspective! And the second  ‘How they transform the country’ perspective. The lives of 4 characters- all at different places and professions, move simultaneously. They get affected due to the system. And like every story has a hero, we have 4 here. The 4 characters want to change the system. The good part is that they don’t break or fall prey to the system. The interesting part is ‘How?’ The story is well organized to give it a twisting plot at the end of each chapter.

P = Plot and Characters. Score : 5/5

The plot and the characters will keep a reader engrossed. The plot has multiple twists, woven web of causes and effects,  thrills and chills, Indian political scenario, feuds and struggles, love, romance, empathy and articulation. A perfect drama to watch. And a better reality to live! The plot becomes gripping and thrilling, chapter by chapter. The Indian political scenario has a plethora of issues to offer and so does the plot. You find yourself served to a platter of terrorism, naxalites, olympic events, collegium system, political feud, political family connection, formation of new party, extortion, misutilization of temple funds, corruption and absurd-to-good media coverage. Yes, everything!

The lead characters steal the show. Aditya,  a chemical businessman, who wants to see a cleaner and greener Varanasi, a better living for India; Varun, a software engineer overseas, who questions the legal system, Raghav, state education minister who challenges his CM chacha; Salman, CEO of Coffee moments, campaigns against an MLA for his falsely laid promises.  Every character is a story to unfold.

S = Story Telling. Score = 4.5/5

The Four patriots is Sumit’s first book. Story Telling is an art mastered gradually, but Sumit has proved it wrong. The way story moves is simply fantastic. You don’t leave the book until you complete it. It’s like a webisode you see online. Every episode leaves a mark! The only part he could have focused was the dialogue delivery of support characters like Sumit Baksi who represents media. Simple narrative, deeply connected. Overall, story telling supported a fantastic plot and lead characters. It can very well be turned into a political thriller like 24!

We all want to see this change. Admit it, we all have imagined ourselves executing our ideas to change the country, in daydreams. All of us wanted to become The President or The Prime Minister at some point of time in our childhood (or at least at the time when we saw flag hoisting at the Red Fort or the Parade). But with time, we stopped considering politics even as a career option. It was meant for the bad and the powerful, and the sole purpose of empowering the weak and the good was lost.

Small things make impact and small changes make real change. Small steps create difference and small differences make it large! This book is a step towards such a change.

A MUST READ!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Four Patriots by Sumit Agarwal

The Four Patriots

by Sumit Agarwal

Giveaway ends October 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

STORY

If you have ever fallen victim to the system, been humiliated, felt helpless… this book is for you.

Varun, a NRI software engineer, loves Alisha. Salman, CEO of Coffee Moments, loves Mahi. Raghav, a virtuous politician, loves Neha. Aditya, an altruist businessman, is married to Prachi. Destiny invites them to step out of their comfort zones and fight the devil that holds their country captive.

Will they choose country over love, comfort and success?

Will they enter the Chakravyuh, intricately laid down to ensure their destruction?

Will they come out of it alive and win back our lost pride?

Buckle up for a roller-coaster ride into the lives of these four young men who are out to change the system which could not be changed in the last 70 years of independence. A story fraught with romance and patriotism.

Also pick this book if you are a patriot and do not believe that ‘is desh ka kuch nahin ho sakta.’ If you do, all the more reason to read it!