R.I.P by Mukul Deva

The Resurgent Indian Patriots (R.I.P.)
Author:Mukul Deva
Price:INR 200
Source:Review Copy via blogadda.com
First Published: 2012

In the late ninetees South Indian film directors S.Shankar and Shaji Kailas used to make good vigilante movies.From Gentleman to Shivaji there were innumerable films in the genre which had it’s protagonists taking on the ‘corrupt and the mighty’ almost singlehandedly using their intelligence and will power.Most of these movies were super duper hits too at the box office .The second half of the next decade witnessed less talented film makers trying to cash in on the same formula with limited success(Susi Ganeshan’s Vikram starrer Kandasamy being a case in point).Bollywood also had a good vigilante movie in ‘Rang de Basanthi’ directed by Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra which got released in the year 2009.You may be wondering why I am writing all this while reviewing Mukul Deva’s latest work ‘Resurgent Indian Patriots’.R.I.P is the kind of work that will surely remind you of the S.Shankar brand of good vigilante films.The book is a fast paced, socio political thriller which packs in a lot of twists and turns at regular intervals.

The Plot-The K team comprises of a group of retired Army officers led by Colonel Krishna Athawale who are fed up with the rampant corruption,nepotism and scandals rocking the very own foundation of the country.They start knocking off the trusted aides of the most corrupt and influential politicians one by one which they believe will provide momentum to the ongoing anti-corruption movement led by activist and Gandhian,’Hazarika’ and thus ensure the passing of a strong anti corruption ‘Lokpal’ bill in the parliament at the earliest.Meanwhile there is a rogue para commando Raghav Bhagat who is hell bent on stopping the K team.Caught in the cross fire are Vinod Bedi,a special director of CBI,Reena Bhagat,a news anchor and two boys,Sachin and Azaan.

The writing-Like his earlier work Lashkar(2008,the only other work of Deva I have read so far),R.I.P is also a page turner.The narration is pretty lucid and interesting which helped me finish reading the book in just about 2 hours.Though the English is pretty simple, the repetition of a couple of words and phrases again and again is a bit of a dampener.(For instance,the six foot tall Captain Bhagat gives ‘sardonic grins and smirks’ n number of times in the story!).A couple of grammatical errors also have crept in which may adversely affect the overall prospects of the book.Considering the target audience of the book and the kind of commercial success which it aspires to attain, the usage of simple,conversational type of language is justifiable though.

The characters-As I have mentioned before the protagonists of the novel ,the K team(Krishna,Karan,Kashif et al) are a group of ex-army men who are on a mission to cleanse the corrupt system.The characters The book is more or less like a recap of the major political events of the country in the last couple of years.The thriller has references to almost all the major scams and scandals which shook the country in the recent years and has even got a character,Hazarika modelled on the anti graft crusader ‘Anna Hazare’.Most of the other characters in the book too are ‘inspired’ by real life politicians.So we have Prime Minister,Nirmal Khanna with a spine as infirm as his name,Sheila Kaul,the National Democratic Congress party president and the widow of India’s previous PM ,her son Ranvijay,the PM-in-waiting to name a few.The backstory of  Krishna’s brother-in-law reminded me of the R.Madhavan’s track in ‘Rang de Basanthi’.Since the story is more focused on the ‘missions’(or well planned assassinations) which the A team carries out,the writer hasn’t bothered much to create three dimensional characters.Except for the lead character,Colonel Krishna Athawale the characters aren’t well etched out and at the same time the character of the pretty news anchor Reena gets undeserved importance in the book.

What I liked the most about the book
1.It’s genre- As I had mentioned earlier,I am a great fan of the ‘vigilante’ genre.R.I.P is a well written,gripping work which remains true to it’s genre.
2.The cat and mouse game between Krishna’s A team on one side and Raghav Bhagat’s parallel ex-commando team and the team of cops on the other side was pretty interesting.
3.Mukul Deva’s military background,technical know how and research ensures that no goof ups creep in the descriptions of the ‘missions of the K team’.
What I didn’t like-
1.The romantic track between Krishna and Reena seemed forced and could have been done away with it.It doesn’t quite gel with the mood of the whole book.
2.The proceedings feel a bit jingoistic and too bollywoodish(the high jack scene and the personal loss which Col.Krishna faces after the ‘mission’,for example) atleast in a couple of instances.Perhaps the writer was catering to a young adult audience!
3. Similarly,the book reads like a newspaper at times.The 2 G scam,fodder scam,housing society scam,Common wealth games scam all find a place in the book.Even the ‘fictional’ politicians linked to those have striking resemblance to their real-life counterparts.Honestly wish the author had applied more imagination and skill while writing those portions.

Verdict-On the whole,R.I.P is no literary marvel and it neither pretends to be one but the 286 pages long book is undoubtedly pure unadulterated fun.If you love reading fast paced vigilante thrillers,don’t hesitate to grab a copy at the earliest.Rating-3.25/5
            The tail end- In this era of growing intolerance,it’s a miracle that a book like R.I.P which exposes the corrupt real life politicians mercilessly hasn’t faced any serious objections from the ruling party or it’s politicians so far!

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reviewed by nikhimenon 2013
(please don't copy)

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