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March 5, 2012

Book Review - 73 : Zero Percentile 2.0

 Author: Neeraj Chhibba
Publisher: Rupa Publications

Pankaj’s ambition gets the better of him; Priya is torn between her two friends; Motu is struggling to save his company from a hostile takeover; Arjun is left alone to support his daughter, a child with special needs; and Nitin can’t allow himself to fall in love as he is afflicted with HIV ... Zero Percentile–2.0 is the story of Pankaj and Motu who begin their foray into the software world with a small company called NumeroSoft. Surrounded by friends, Nitin, Priya and Arjun, they have pinned their hopes on the Babe – the software they are developing. As Pankaj’s desire to conquer the world clashes with their ethics, their friendship falls apart and they leave the company to start a new software enterprise. Once friends, now fierce competitors, the stakes are enormously high for them. What will it cost them? Will they ever get back together? A tale of greed, love, friendship and conspiracy which ends in a pulsating climax after seven days of bitter fight for control.

It is always difficult to follow up on a well-written, engaging book and ZP2.0, sequel to Zero percentile might have just pulled it off if it was not trying too hard to cram it everything. Apart from awkward sentences cases and non-seamless narrative, the book entwines in so much that at times, you have to stop to check on the flow of events. Pacing has never been a problem in Chhibba's books, but it is the lack of detailing and logical loopholes which hurt the final product this time.

Each character comes with its own set of rules and problems, more complex than others. It helps that most of these are regular situations with which one can identify and the book has a good heart which we all want to see somewhere in ourselves. The narrative is punctuated by flesh and blood characters with whom you can identify and it is brave on the author's part not to show any prejudices. I particularly enjoyed the portions of Arjun's daughter, which are written with a deft touch and a rare maturity when it comes to writing about the specially challenged children.

The second section of the book, however, was too long for me, and provides a convenient back-story to justify each characters eccentricities. The cross-connecting of various stories is a tad confusing and the amalgamation of sub-plots with the main story left a lot to be desired. I personally felt the brouhaha over Nitin's AIDS campaign over-the-top mainly because it is set in IT industry where you would expect the intellectual level of people working to be of an optimum level.

I am going with generous (2.5+0.5)=3/5 for Neeraj Chhibba's ZP2.0. It is more complex, but less engaging than its prequel. More focus should have been on exploring relationships and less on number of relationships. It might just have worked much better in that form. Read it if you are a fan of racy metro reads.


Little Girl Lost said...

Hi Amit,

Not sure if you remember me, but we were blogging friends a few years back, when I was known as Little Girl Lost. It's been a long time since I checked your blog, so I was totally mindblown today when I found that you've also been doing book reviews. I really liked the 3-4 last posts that I read, they were crisp and yet fun.

The reason I was so interested is that I have also recently started a blog about books and book reviews. please check it out at

Since we are both book lovers, I know i can count on your readership and feedback to help me improve. Please become a follower :)
I am also following your blog now. Hope to have long and interesting discussions with you about, what else, books!
love, and a hope of renewed friendship,
Amritorupa (LGL)

Vrinda said...


I finished reading this book yesterday night. I somehow feel that this ZP2.0 is little better than ZP1.0. Yes,I agree that the book has too many stories running paralleled. Again,I did not like the way he has ended the Arjun and musky story. I felt it can be more beautifully written.

I like the way you write the Reviews.