Book Review: Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister

Book: Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister
Author: Tabrik C
Number of pages: 319
Price: Rs. 350

Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister by Tabrik C is a chilling tale of a music maestro, who by a sudden turn of events is also the newly elected Prime Minister of India. It is an intense account of Siddhartha Tagore’s fascinating journey from Harvard to 7 Race Course Road in the backdrop of an intriguing past, menacing politics and hidden lust.

The sight of a solitary man on the front cover pretty much sets the tone of the book, because for a large part of his life, Tagore walks alone, sometimes also lonely. The back cover depicts Rashtrapati Bhavan, reminiscent of a power struggle.

It took me a few chapters to warm up to the book and get used to Tabrik’s style of writing. He switches between times, places and ideas with great ease, usually providing a connecting idea, thought or word for the next chapter. At some places, it is very obvious, not so obvious at some others.

Set in India, largely in Delhi, January 2017 onwards, in the midst of a turbulent political scenario, Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister traces Tagore’s disturbed life; his student days at Harvard, his all-consuming passion for music, his troubled return to India, his meteoric political assent, the skeletons in this closet, which threaten to destroy him.

Tabrik’s heavily-layered writing leaves you for gasping for air on more than one occasion. There is much sub-text between the pages, some of which could be done without. Tabrik is a detailed writer, but also leaves a lot open to the reader’s imagination. He elevates Tagore’s musical gifts to that of Mozart’s madness, providing a refreshing spin on a prime minister’s persona. His music is his refuge; it threatens to consume him. It also keeps him together. As the prime minister, Tagore is determined and extraordinarily clear-headed. He only comes undone when he is alone with his piano.

For the all the loneliness and emotional upheaval in his life, Tagore’s best moments are when he is interacting with other characters in the book. Be it Rubaya, the love of his life; Karishma or K, Ruby’s twin sister; Rukmani Devi, his primary rival; Kabir; his son. His exchanges with Kabir are particularly revealing. They also lighten up the general mood of the book.

Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister is a contemporary read. There are emails, press reports, clear references to previous political leaders, Harley Davidsons zooming all over Delhi, etc. I’d love to see this book being made into a film. To see Siddhartha Tagore get consumed by music and passion would be so much nicer than reading it.

Tabrik’s warning on the front cover, “You can’t outrun fate,” is beautifully illustrated toward the end of the book. This trail of thought is also present throughout the book but it reaches a crescendo toward the end, until Tagore puts all the demons to bed.

Tabrik’s Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister is a bit of an effort initially. It is slow and dull. But it picks up pace after the first few chapters, beautifully. It will also take some time to acquaint yourself with Tagore’s idiosyncrasies. And then you’ll enjoy them when you do.

Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister is a good read. Refreshing and reaffirming. Pick it up for a heady combination of perfume and music and relationships.

Rating: 3/5

Learn more about Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister.

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One comment

  1. Madam Curie

    Nothing to go through, Tabrik, the author, might have fascinated with scents, goddamned man-made machines, political posts and music.

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