Revolution 2020 is the story of three childhood friends: Gopal, Raghav, and Aarthi. The story is setup in the holy-city of Varanasi. Gopal and Raghav are schoolmates from the childhood and share the same bench in school. Aarthi is also from the same class. Gopal loves Aarthi from the school days.
The story’s narrator is Gopal. I am not going to tell you the entire story and be a suspense spoiler.
Gopal comes from a filmy-Indian-middle-class background. Raghav is from an almost well to do family, where as Aarathi comes from a kind of bureaucratic and political family. Three of them have their own ambitions in life. Gopal wants to be a rich man, Raghav wants to change the world, Aarthi wants to become an air hostess.
After the failure in getting through JEE and AIEEE exams, Gopal is forced by his father to repeat the exams next year. But Raghav secures a good rank and joins the top college in Varanasi. Aarthi falls in love with Raghav.
What happens when Gopal returns to Varanasi after his one year stint at cracking the entrance exams is the main part of the story. Apart from losing his love, he couldn’t find a seat in engineering to fulfill his father’s dream.
How Gopal chooses corruption as an aid to become a successful person while Raghav tries to change the world(read as India) with his revolutionary ideals is what the middle pages of the book are all about.
In the ending, things kind of change though, and you will be left to yourself to wonder who is right and who is wrong. Except for a faint hint in the end, Chetan doesn’t really judge what Gopal does is good or bad.
Following the tradition of the latest Bollywood movies, you can find few swearing words which start with letters b and a and f. I leave it your imagination to figure out those words. I really wonder whether Chetan added those words in the drafts after those movies are released or those words were there from the beginning.
Few of my favorite sentences:
I am reproducing few of the sentences I have underlined while I was reading the book.
People come to my city to feel the presence of god, but I could feel her presence everywhere.
Ease of cremation is one solid advantage of being in Varanasi. The death industry drives the city.
Stupid people go to colleges. Smart people own them.
We don’t fix cases, we fix the people in the cases.
What I din’t like? (And may be you don’t like too)
You will miss the witty observations for which Chetan is known for. Two States has a lot of lol-moments for the reader. But in this book, even though there are few sentences which make you lol, the obvious fun factor is missing when you compare this to his previous books.
The story becomes too predictive in few places and you might as well skip through paragraphs at times.
I guess, in some places, the character development is not handled well. There were not enough reasons shown to us by the author previously in the book to make us believe the characters’ actions. The actions come as a surprise, but they don’t convince us to believe.
The first hundred pages don’t really add much to the entire theme of the book. It could have been easily conveyed in less pages without really degrading the overall effect of the story.
I would have liked the book more if it had handled the ‘revolution part’ in more detail instead of focusing more material on the triangular-love-story. May be Bollywood needs it.
So what do I have to say finally?
I usually hate giving a rating based on five stars. It’s really useless to rate a book like that.
If you are a Chetan Bhagat’s fan, I am sure you will definitely like this book. But I am not sure whether you will like it better than any of his previous books.
Even if you are a fan of Chetan Bhagat, you will be disappointed if you expect a lot of revolutionary stuff from the book. It is a regular love story with a modern backdrop and written in a typical Chetan Bhagat style. The book’s title could have been anything else, for Revolution 2020 is not the major theme in the book.
Four books after his bestseller debut novel, Five Point Someone, I guess Chetan is unable to re-create the same magic like he did with his first book.
I think Revolution 2020 is a good book, but not as revolutionary as one might guess from the book’s title and book’s back-cover summary. Of course, I don’t expect in people changing the world just by reading books. But from the book’s title and pre-release interviews and promotions on the Internet, it is reasonable for an average reader to expect more ground breaking stuff than a regular two-boys-love-the-same-girl-love-story sprinkled with corruption in India.
It’s a really good read if you like reading light fiction.
If you like reading books to pamper your literary senses, definitely this book is not for you.
If you haven’t read Chetan’s books before, I would say you better start with Five Point Someone.
If you are too lazy to read books, then wait, I am sure this book has everything in it to be a Bolloywood movie.