Book Name- Sialkot Saga
Author – Ashwin Sanghi
Pubisher – Westland Publishers
Available on – Amazon, you can buy from here Sialkot Gatha (The Sialkot Saga)
The first thing that came to my mind after reading this novel was Masala Story – Bollywood style! This was the first book of Ashwin Sanghi that I read. I was really expecting something on the lines of Da Vinci Code, however this is nothing like that. It starts with an interesting plot, but then it spans almost 60 years; not forgetting that it occasionally keeps going back in time to different eras! That is too much to take for me.
You have two protagonists in the story with their family and friends, then you have a parallel track of different era’s that is spliced in between. We follow these protagonists right from they are pre-schoolers till they turn 60. We also have run-in’s with famous politicians and various different events that changed the course of history. That is a lot to take!
Ashwin Sanghi manages to give great depth to the characters that he has evolved. His narration style ensures that although there is so much happening in the book, the reader can focus on one thing at a time. While reading, in certain situations I could actually imagine certain Bollywood actors in those roles. The situations are well crafted to be adapted in movies. Had it not been spanning so many timelines, I am sure some director would have picked up the story for his next film.
Coming to the story, it follows the life of Arbaaz and Arvind. Intelligent, driven and good at heart these protagonists find their paths crossing at regular intervals. They don’t seem to get along and find ways to better the other. Arvind is a businessman who scams people in stock market or creates shell companies and finds ways of conning others while making a cool profit for himself. His only aim seems to be to figure in the Forbes list. Arbaaz is a gangster turned politician. They both love ripping the other of their bank balance. Arbaaz never really seems to have a goal in life. There is a parallel story of an invisible group that is guarding a secret which is passed on to a chosen one when the time is right. There is love, passion, deceit and dejection.
The rushed end makes the reading experience like a castle of cards that suddenly crumbled. I would have preferred the story to be tighter, the plot deeper- revolving more around the secret than the individual lives.
All in all it’s a good one time read if you love Masala Bollywood style novels. Perfect to carry if you are travelling and don’t really wish to be engrossed into reading.
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