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October 20, 2013

Book Review - 137 : The Curse of that Night

Author : Rochak Bhatnagar
Publisher : General Press

Good intentions don't necessarily make into good books and that is quite evident from The Curse of that night...she lived forever which is a sincere but amateurish attempt to create the horror of Dec 16 Gang-rape of a physiotherapist student while travelling in a private bus with a male friend. Biggest problem in the book is that it treats rape as a "separate entity" rather than weaving it into the narrative seamlessly to provide a solid story. Instead what we get bursting on its seam, 'Google-based' information of the cultural-physical-sociological aftermath of rape. All these portions stood out like a sore thumb because they do not portray the pain of the protagonist in any manner but provided to the reader as FYI slots.

Abhijeet Raichand, is the highest paid lawyer in Delhi who has sole intention to make money (though he always seems to be doing his own chores including in one scene, setting up table for his date despite being so rich!). Rohan Raichand, a bookie and a drug dealer can't see eye to eye with Abhijeet but has no qualms of taking money from him. As the case in such novels, Abhijeet obviously do not have any iota of clue regarding the intentions of Rohit to kill him. Malvika Singh, Abhijeet's secretary turned fiancee who is opposed and then supported by Abhijeet once the rape case becomes high profile. Darsh, an orphan saves life of Abhijeet and Malvika in a freak incident and it is rape of his sister which we witness, making this a Damini like situation.

There are abundant logical loopholes in the narrative and once the case becomes high profile, there is very little brain cell usage by any of the characters in the moment of crisis. Every one seems to think from the heart including Abhijeet leaving a trail of clues to be exposed as a lawyer. I also could not understand the significance of back (love) story of the prime witness to the rape case. I guess intention was to provide some sort of connection between Ananya and Rishi, central protagonists of Bhatnagar's  earlier two novels but that idea fails miserably.

In the end, what you can admire in the book is the sincerity with which author has penned down this book giving us an idea about how bad rape victims in India are treated and what their life has become? The editing is somewhat better than you would expect in such books and the narrative does maintain a brisk pace. I also particularly liked the way Malvika and Abhijeet relationship progressed even though there is lot of filminess to it.

I am going with 2/5 for Rochak Bhatnagar's 'The Curse of that Night'. It has got its heart in the right place, but all other body parts scattered all over. Not a bad book by any means, but just not good enough to make any sort of strong impression on you.

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