talking about a new place: Piyush Jha’s Mumbaistan


It is seldom that life gives you a second chance. Most importantly- you get a second chance only when God knows you are suited for one. I had thought life to go on a tortoise pace post retirement- but here I am writing a review after getting freshly appointed in a MNC company. Books and my professional world are poles after- perhaps that is why- I hold on to books so dearly. After reading a couple of vernacular classics, Piyush Jha’s Mumbaistan- 3 explosive crime thrillers is the first English book I am reading. Here I will say, unless you know how to play with words you can’t be a writer. Piyush could score because he knew that trick well.

I think a director should always attempt at writing books. Books help them to concise their thoughts further. And I like the idea of novellas instead of one big novel to read trough painstakingly. The young generation hates tome books. Give them mindless love stories- they will forget to eat and drink, but give them a serious book to read- they will dose off in seconds. Mumbaistan is a serious book bordering reality. I can only think of the extreme movie- “Matribhoomi” coming close to such apt narrative style. You can feel the camera rolling at your feet, above your head as each story unfolds itself. Crime plays its own politics- and Piyush depicts the subtly pretty well. One is forced to question the integrity of the police force, the sanity of doctors and the institution of love. Cupid has lost his chubby cheeks in Mumbaistan- he is gambling for higher stakes this time- human lives.  Good copes are there among us. A new serial aired recently mentions of one such Samaritan. The story “Infectionwala” has one such good cop with a fair heart beating within a cold casket.

What Piyush depicts through the eyes of fiction are blunt reminders of the truth behind the ghastly life in a city. Everywhere the story is same. Complexities of life have made men kill each other for greedy gains. Love is all dead. Among all the characters I liked Zohra the most from the first story. She is brave and has her morals deeply rooted. She makes a worthy sacrifice of herself. I could feel the pain in Tanvir voice in the last line. Characters like Hani and Aalamzeb are more like dark horses springing out of the chess board. The same can be said for Raghu from the last novella- “Coma Man”. The title itself is eerie, as if drawing attention towards some late night Horror movie. Piyush’s first attempt is a brilliant one I can say- and I wish he would write more in the coming future. I have not read many crime thrillers by Indian writers- may be because there aren’t many of them. If Piyush is a fresh face in the whole scenario- his has a worthy book in his pocket.

The reviewer describes himself as a simpleton- living his life on two words “keep smiling”. He says that’s his ace card.




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