Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: Battle for Bittora

Anuja Chauhan’s first book The Zoya Factor was a runaway hit, and, is soon going to be released as a movie by none other than Shahrukh Khan’s production house Red Chillies Entertainment. The book was a brilliant love story between Zoya Solanki, an advertising professional and Nikhil Khoda the captain of the Indian cricket team. The book made you laugh, make you go all mushy and awww on reading it. So as is obvious her second book was eagerly anticipated and looked forward to ,especially going by the buzz, that it would be a politician's love story!

Battle for Bittora is her second book which again has full movie-in-the making potential. It is a love story between two young, dynamic, good looking politicians. The only hitch, despite knowing each other since childhood and being in love is, that they are going to be at loggerheads soon as they battle for Bittora as candidates for opposing parties.

The story is of 25 year old Jinni (Sarojini) who lives and works in Mumbai is perfectly happy with her carefree and happy existence. Until one day her grandmother, a veteran politician herself, asks or rather expects Jinni to drop everything and contest from their hometown Bittora. The grandmother is bossy and she is just not used to hearing a no. Jinni’s life is soon to change from a hip career woman in Mumbai to  a cotton sari clad wannabe MP campaigning as the candidate for Pragati party in Bittora.

Though she is reluctant she soon finds herself swathed in cotton saris and frumpy blouses, battling prickly heat, accusations of nymphomania and corruption in her battle to uphold the illustrious Pande dynasty of Pavit Pradesh. She is soon to learn that everything in politics is not as easy as it seems from outside right from the voters to her so-called friends, to understanding how her campaign is funded.

It definitely doesn’t help to know that her main rival in the election is going to be her friend from childhood Zain Altaf Khan. Zain is an ex-Royal of Bittora who is a candidate of IJP, a pro-hindu party, which by fielding a Muslim candidate is trying to signal a change of its party ideologies.

The book takes you through the battle royale. It is commendable that the author has attempted a light hearted love story between two politicians something which is so difficult to imagine keeping the Indian politicians in mind. The book is a laughathon most of the times but also tends to drag at places. What is interesting is her generous use of hinglish and hindi words which an Indian reader can connect with instantly. Words like Saakshaat fart to describe a person, kitaanu animator to describe Jinni’s job profile and her grandmother’s liberal use of broken English in the typical Pavit Pradesh accent will keep the reader laughing.

Obviously no marks for guessing which parties she means when she says Pragati, IJP or, for that matter, the place, Pavit Pradesh is also not too difficult a guess.  But the author in her own hilarious, fun way manages to give a reader an insight into what it takes to fight an election in India… it surely is not for the faint-hearted!

The book has an interesting premise but unfortunately it doesn’t keep the reader interested enough to read till the very end.  Coming after The Zoya Factor as a reader you may be disappointed since it is not as engrossing as her first.

But as a standalone it is a total value for money, entertainment guaranteed kind of a book! 

About the Author:

Anuja Chauhan was born in Meerut and went to school in Meerut, Delhi and Melbourne. Anuja lives in Gurgaon with her husband Niret Alva and their three children, and works in Advertising. Her contribution to the nation’s real politik is mostly limited to serving tea and being seen and not heard in her mother-in-law’s drawing room. (Her mother -in-law being veteran and respected politician Margaret Alva).


  1. Nice review..and nice to know about this seemingly harlequin-slash-nora-roberts fiction category in India..awesome !

  2. -Thank you Dips. Glad you liked the review!
    -Thanks Gaurav! Thanks for your kind words on twitter too.

  3. Just finished it you said paisa-vasool!

  4. Lovely!! Would love to grab a copy of this book. Very nice review.