Monday, May 9, 2011

The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan

The tagline of the novel reads " a giddy, glorious mix of cricket, cola advertising and true love" and there isn't a more accurate description for this story. Anuja Chauhan has made sure that her debut novel has all the ingredients of a best seller.

Zoya Solanki, an executive in a leading advertising agency, is shooting an ad with the Indian Cricket Team for the Zing Cola campaign. The youngsters of the team, on knowing that she was born on the very same day India won the world cup in 1983 and noticing that the team wins the match if she breakfasts with them, start to consider her as a lucky charm. The belief is strengthened when the team starts losing when Zoya is not on the breakfast table with the team. Soon Zoya is pressurised to accompany the team for the world cup in Australia. Her work- to breakfast with the team before every match. When the team wins every match, Zoya finds herself catapulted into a goddess-like status and now it is important to her to stay grounded. And also there is Nikhil Khoda, the captain of Indian cricket team, trying to make the team believe in themselves rather than in lucky charms. What does the young and dashing captain feels about Zoya? Does he loathe her for playing with the morale of the team? Is he  pretending to like her as she is lucky? Or does he really love her?

The characters and situations are heavily inspired from real life, with the Zing cola which is nothing but Pepsi (Interestingly , Ms. Chauhan, a VP in a leading ad agency herself,  has worked on many Pepsi campaigns like "Oye bubbly", "Mera number kab aayega" etc), Nikhil Khoda-the brown skinned captain from a small town- reminds you of M S Dhoni and many characters in the Indian Cricket team are also inspired from real life people.  Anyway, the first time author has just got it right with thrilling cricket, M&B-esque romance and generous servings of humour.

A light read with the right mix of humour, romance and thrill. 4 out of 5.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Susanna's Seven Husbands by Ruskin Bond.

The motivation to read the book was the movie. Incidentally, the book has three versions of the same concept. The original short story which was written first by Ruskin Bond, the novella which is an expanded version by himself and the movie script written by Vishal Bharadwaj and Mathew Robins.

Susanna- a rich lady in search of a perfect husband. Being good looking and rich, she always attract men towards her but she cannot find the father figure she is searching for.  But conveniently for her, all of her husbands die sometimes after their marriage. Is  it the beautiful lady who is murdering her husbands? The author clearly hints so. Then what happens to her? Well, the story progresses as well as ends in different ways in the different versions of the story ie. the short story, the novella and the movie script. I read the novella first; maybe that is the reason I liked it most. But it is the short story that actually carries the Ruskin Bond touch. I didn't read the script as I didn't have the patience to read through the Hindi dialogues. Anyway, I thought it won't be so good too as the movie flopped.

A nice and short read, 3. 5 out of 5.