Title: Imperfect Mr. Right
Author: Shakti Salgaokar
Price: Rs. 175
Imperfect Mr. Right by Shakti Salgaokar comes with a charming pink cover. Soft, muted and unassuming. It is simple, upbeat and a breeze to read. It chronicles the tale of an ordinary perfume salesman, propelled into fame, on the sets of a reality TV show where he dons a new avatar, in search of his bride.
Rahul Rajgopal is a commonplace salesman who you’d probably overlook in a mall. He seizes up people, matching them to a particular fragrance. He is content until Avinash Menon, head honcho of CEE TV, makes him an offer he cannot refuse. With “A Match Made in Heaven,” a new reality TV show, Menon promises to transform Rajgopal into “the man every woman desires to marry – rich, handsome and suave…” Thus, Rajgopal is groomed into becoming Rajsingh Jaiswal, a man of immense wealth, class and taste. While Menon is the typical scheming, money-mind, opportunistic TV professional, his wife, Sherry, is the epitome of charm and grace. I wish Shakti had painted Sherry more elaborately.
Tanya Kher, a pretty and talented media planner, seems to have it all. Brash, confident and successful. But something in her life feels amiss. And one fine day, she throws it all away in a fit of anger and frustration. She signs up to be a contestant on the said TV show, on a drunken whim, to help out a friend.
Somewhere, along the way, Kher begins to fall in love with Rajgopal but doesn’t quite know what to do or how to deal with her feelings. You can sense the highs and lows, the angst and sometimes, sheer joy. And from there onwards, it is just about biding time until both the characters come to terms with their feelings, in the backdrop of a scripted reality TV show.
The book provided a nice insight into the dynamics and workings of a reality TV show. I was amused and slightly taken aback with the camaraderie the contestants shared on the show. I had expected more bitchiness and animosity.
I enjoyed the dichotomy of feelings between Rahul and Raj. Rahul warring with Raj to break the shackles of the façade; Raj warring with Rahul to keep it on for just a little bit longer. I empathize with Tanya and her emotional upheavals. At times, I want to reach out and hug her.
I found the end a little too predictable and hurried. Shakti had spent so much time building up the plot that the quick end came as a surprise and disappointment. I also wish Shakti had outlined a few of her characters in greater detail. Sherry, for one. Ayesha, Rajgopal’s erstwhile lover, was another.
I was initially intrigued with the whole idea of matching people to a particular fragrance. But I also felt that somewhere along the plot, that idea fell through. I was hoping it would resurface towards the end but it didn’t.
But I enjoyed reading Imperfect Mr. Right. Crisp, clear language, an engaging plot and a contemporary theme.Shakti, I’m already awaiting your next book. And thank you for this.
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