My review of writer/comedian Sorabh Pant’s latest offering.
Tanya Bisht is a Real Estate Sales Executive who’s part time Dexter. Unlike Dexter she’s not in it for just recreation, she’s out there hunting for rapists as a part of a secret society. The real *gasp* moment comes when the secret of this society is revealed.
Here are the TOP 8 reasons why you should click it up on Flipkart:
8. Over-reached my expectations
Full disclosure: Not a fan of Indian Stand Up Comics. I rarely find them funny. So I came into this book, like I go into meditation- with zero expectations. I am glad I did, because this book is hilarious without being insensitive.
7. It’s crazy
God bless HBO’s adaptation of ‘Game Of Thrones’ for de-sensitizing me, or else, I wouldn’t have survived this book. Gosh! The protagonist Tanya Bisht is a shocker. So, is the way Sorabh ends some of the scenes. I had to pause & re-read.
6. It’s contemporary
It’s not some distant time or place. It’s now. Although, the main premise of the book is Rape & Delhi, but it’s nuanced with things that resonated with me & people I know, closely. A predator for a boss, obnoxious boy friend, condescending male colleagues- stuff that enrages me, but I doubt if I ever did anything about it. So, when Tanya Bisht enters as a maverick, of course I’ll cheer for her. So will you.
5. The commentary
The protagonist suffer from an undiagonsed case of ‘Chandler Bing’ disorder. For me, that’s the USP of the book, as her non-stop commentary is a delight to be relished. It’s deliciously sarcastic.
4. Easy Read
Linear narrative. Not too many complications. You can pick it anytime & start reading. No taxing, just entertainment. And since it addresses social issues; it’s a pleasure sans the guilt.
3. The Action & Tease;
The book opens with an action scene & then introduces us to the character. By this time I am so eager to know who’s she that I give my undivided a attention to Sorabh & absorb every detail.
2. The redemption
No matter what Tanya does there’s always a redeeming quality to her. She just dismembered a guy but then she gets bullied at work, so heart goes out for her. I know it doesn’t make sense here. In Sorabh’s writing it does. This brings me to my next point. The no.1 reason why I recommend ‘Under Delhi’ is:
1. READ It if you want to learn the basics of clutter free writing
The book opens layer by layer, in a visually ‘kadak’ fashion. Mostly the trend is ‘meet the character…this is the job…this the relationship status’. Here, Sorabh goes for one thing at a time. So every section has just one information, but that information is new.
And, now comes the part where I talk about the glitches. The stuff, I hope Sorabh fixes in his next book;
1. The Introduction at back
I have this weird habit of first reading the back cover. I didn’t like what I read. The ‘Chow mein’ Asaram Bapu et al was too evocative of AIB’s ‘It’s My Fault’ video, which made me raise one suspicious eyebrow (Though it was lowered in first chapter itself).
2. The Dexter
Like I said she’s female Dexter, in the initial chapters she’s literally female version of Dexter. While reading the page one, paragraph one of this book, scene 1 from episode 1, season 1 of the show was playing in my head. It was a real put off. I thought, “Okay! So he wanted to show a female serial killer, he could have done it without making her Dexterni.”
3. The Voice
Yes, the protagonist’s voice is deliciously sarcastic but it’s not female. Sorabh fails to get the female sensibility & reasoning right. I spend one whole night to figure out what it is that wasn’t working, I failed to find. So, I don’t know what’s it, but something about Tanya’s voice is off tune.
However, I would like to mention something here. I was agitated that how come such a kick ass girl, let her boyfriend treat her like a doormat! That’s when I realized that though Sorabh failed in getting the voice right, he succeeded in making me care for the character!
As a screen-writer I always question myself, “Why my audience need to ‘like’ the character? Why isn’t ‘care’ enough?” So, as a writer I strongly feel that liking is redundant. However, as a reader I want to like the character.
In ‘Gone Girl’ Amy had me at the first sentence itself. Later on, even though she becomes a socio-path bitch, she was my bitch. I couldn’t make this bond of likability with Tanya. At the points where she was being dramatic & over reacting, instead of being amused, I was irritated. I love her speech on ‘negs’ and ‘the game’, but I don’t love her. The fact that Sorabh doesn’t invest much time in telling us how she looks doesn’t help either.
5. Too much of rape
I know that’s the premise & it can’t be dealt subtly, but do we really have to mention it so much that it becomes tiring to read about & for me this dilutes the punch. This reminded me of Dimple Kapadia’s movie Zakhmi Aurat. Not a good memory to resurface.
So, there are certain things that are problematic for me, it doesn’t mean that I don’t like it. Pick it up, I think you’ll enjoy it. If you don’t, go head & troll Sorabh Pant on;
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His website: eastindiacomedy.com
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