Chetan Bhagat is undoubtedly one of India’s best selling authors. His books reach even the remotest corners of the country where no even understands English. People pick up his books to learn the language. His books’ – The 3 mistakes of my life, Five point someone, 2 States, Half Girlfriend – adaptation into films only proves his worth.
But, are his books the best ones? You tell. Bhagat has a love- hate relationship with his readers. There are some who completely adore his writing style for its simplicity and some who absolutely ridicule his work.
Bhagat’s latest ‘The Girl in Room 105’ is unlike his previous works, this isn’t a love story. This is an unlove story. In his interviews he has claimed to dwell into the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and also the Kashmir issue.
The book opens up with Bhagat travelling on a plane to Delhi where he meets Keshav Rajpurohit. Keshav is a graduate from IIT and is working as a faculty in a coaching class in the capital. After initial talks, Bhagat agrees to listen to Keshav’s unlove story.
Keshav hails from Alwar, Rajasthan. His father is a member of the RSS but Keshav isn’t influenced by the Sangh. Keshav falls in love with Zara Lone, a PhD student in IIT from Kashmir. However, their love story doesn’t go as planned.
Keshav’s parents opposes Zara, as she being a Muslim would bring shame to their Hindu family and it would definately hamper his father’s chances in politics. Later when the young couple meet Zara’s father – Safdar. He tells Keshav to convert to Islam, which he doesn’t agree to. This leads to misunderstandings, frequent fights between the couple until they decide to call it a day.
Zara is constantly in Keshav’s memories. He stalks her on social media, even calls her when drunk. But she has moved on. She decides to marry Raghu, a huge startup owner with dreams to settle in the States. Until one day. It is Zara’s birthday. She texts Keshav to come meet her in her hostel room 105 as he used to when they were dating and that midnight changes everything. Everything !
Keshav and his best friend Saurabh find Zara murdered in her room 105. They are held by the police until the cops decide to have enough evidence to prove the watchman Laxman had murdered her. However, Laxman pleads to Keshav that he hasn’t committed the crime.
The book then becomes a murder mystery and Keshav becomes hell bent on finding who the murderer is. There are half a dozen suspects – Zara’s father Safdar, her fiance Raghu, her brother Sikander who has a terrorist background, her PHd guide, an army officer Faiz. You’ll have to read the book to find out who the real culprit is.
The book was publicized as a story about the RSS and Kashmir which it has very less about. There is a just a little jibe taken at the RSS which says ‘Married men cannot take higher up positions in the RSS.’ There is fleeting mention of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apart from that there is nothing about the Hindu politics.
When the story moves to Kashmir, the writer does voice the locals’ opinion. He clearly states that the people of Kashmir aren’t happy with the army, they say we don’t want to be in India, we would love either to go to Pakistan or better we have a separate Kashmir. However, the best part of the book has to be the bromance between Keshav and Saurabh.
The story is very much predictable. You could guess the climax at least 10 chapters before. Bhagat’s works are mostly adapted to films and if I could think of the latest murder mystery in Hindi films – Andhadhun – the Girl in Room 105 falls behind by miles.
This one is surely better than Bhagat’s previous works but again if you are a George Orwell, Dan Brown, Arthur Conan Doyle kinda reader then this one isn’t for you.
Predictable, Clichéd and Bollywoodish
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