Author: Mukul Deva
Number of pages: 286
Price: Rs. 200
RIP by Mukul Deva takes its name from the Resurgent Indian Patriots (RIP), who happen to be a bunch of self-appointed guardians of a nation seething with anger at the endless scams and scandals rocking its very foundations. They are vigilantes who vow to stop corrupt politicians and the colluding civil servants. The K-Team, comprising Colonel Krishna Athawale and his team of Special Forces officers, takes it upon itself to protect the country from the enemy within.
In the author’s words, “This book was born out of an extreme sense of anger and shame. Anger at the appalling, naked greed so shamelessly displayed by the Indian political class. And shame that they happen to be fellow-Indians.” Sentiments that we are all too familiar with lately. Although Deva provides the usual disclaimer that all places, incidents, people are fictitious, blah, blah, it is fairly easy to draw parallels with the current state of affairs. A little too simple in fact. I was hoping he’d have been a little more inventive and less obvious with the finer details.
The book opens with three successful assassinations, leaving you reeling with surprise. There is simultaneous shock and awe. You get a glimpse of the genius that is the K-Team and what it’s capable of. I was floored. The Indian political establishment was not. Startled by the audacity and petrified by the anonymous nature of the attacks, the Home Minister, very high-handedly, assigns Vinod Bedi, from the Special Crimes Division (SCD) of the CBI, to investigate the subsequent threats, as indicated by the RIP.
The government also sets loose Raghav Bhagat, a rogue para trooper, against the RIP, unknown to the CBI, for heightened precaution. And the rest of the plot is a cat and mouse chase with one set of people trying to outwit the other, leading to comical moments. For example, at one instance, Athawale’s car is trailed by almost four sets of watchers, when he is not even inside the car.
The book is a strong reminder of the brazenly rampant sleaze and corruption in our political establishment today. Just reading the book gets you all worked up and ready to outrage. I was delighted that someone had finally channelized some of our outrage in a book like this. Identify a target, hatch a plot and go for the kill. The sadist in me was beyond sated. I will reread the book just to revisit each of the assassination attempts for the clarity, the determination and the bonds of friendship.
I love Athawale’s characterization and his steely determination. If only he didn’t pontificate, rationalize or mull so much over the ethical and whether their actions are justified. Unnecessary distractions, I thought. I’d rather Deva get on with the plot rather than present me with the moral high ground.
Bhagat is easy to detest. His antics make you cringe each time you read about him. And the heart goes out to poor Bedi.
The language was a bit sloppy in instances. Too Indian and conversational for my liking. And there is little female presence in the book. Reena Bhagat, the television anchor, occupies a significant portion of the plot but contributes little. I waited for her to take center-stage but she remains a wallflower.
There is a very contemporary feel to the whole book. Breaking news, bookies and punters placing bets on the next victim to-be, etc. Deva enjoys playing to the gallery.
RIP will make a great Bollywood potboiler. There is much intrigue, a touch of romance and lots of gore. Not to forget the car chasing. Read it for its engaging plot, a bold premise and a perfect happy ending.
Learn more about Mukul Deva and his books.