Book: One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat
I went into this book with immensely low expectations, and somehow still ended up disappointed.
For those of you who don’t know, Chetan Bhagat’s newest book is about a Indian woman with a brilliant career who’s just about to get married, until some complications from her past land up at the destination wedding that she is paying for.
Bhagat tried to write this as some sort of landmark book on Indian feminism for the Indian masses, and I commend him, honestly. I’m sure he had good intentions, etc etc.
But at the end of the day, leaving aside the pseudo feminism that is paraded throughout, the book still falls short on, well, pretty much everything.
Bhagat sticks to his money winning formula of 1) a wedding
2) a Punjabi family
3) an outspoken mother contrasted with a silent (in other books, even absent) father,
and yet touts this as a radical change (because of the female protagonist) which is slightly questionable (because a female protagonist doesnt mean his writing style has suddenly evolved and his plot formulae has been ignored?!)
Every single character is not only a living stereotype, but lacks any depth whatsoever, especially the protagonist, Radhika.
Radhika, from the start, is just painful. I mean, I get it, Chetan Bhagat just needed a woman who would be able to realistically have a whole bunch of issues because she’s a woman, but did that really mean that he had to confine her to just that?
Literally running to a different continent in order to escape her past, Radhika, an apparent genius, made me want to slap her. Multiple times. Bhagat also goes on about how she’s a nerd who’s become hot, etc,etc, but what I don’t understand is if she’s really that hot, how in the world does she meet only two men in the span of like, eight years? The author repeatedly talks about how she’s so intelligent and so feminist and so independent that he fails to actually show it, and instead contradicts these characteristics through her actions.
Oh, just in case you were hoping for someone better, the rest of the characters arent much better. They all are living (kind of), breathing (doubtfully) stereotypes(definitely) and reading about them navigating their, well, stereotypes is just mind numbing.
But you know what, I get it. Bhagat has tried to introduce feminism to the masses in a way that’s easy to swallow, and he’s done in the style that he loves, with the intention of hopefully turning it into a picture perfect movie. And for any of the above objectives, the book works, technically.
But at the end of the day, the book can’t be judged by the intentions of its author, but only by its pages. And by its pages, One Indian Girl is a half baked plot with barely two dimensional characters. No matter why Chetan Bhagat wrote it, this is what matters, atleast for me.
(For the record- I don’t think his message was completely correct. I don’t think the book conveys what feminism is. I don’t think that’s how he should have tried to convey it. And I guess that makes it harder for me to like the story.)
That’s about it, if I continue I may never stop! I reaally hope you read some good books this week. Step out of your comfort zone, maybe it’ll work better for you than it did for me.