WRITING STYLE: 4/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4.5/5
I had heard a lot about this book on Goodreads but never got the opportunity to read it. So, I was thrilled when Dinesh Juneja of Creativa India, promotional partners of the author, got in touch with me and sent me this review copy. Seeing the title, I assumed it to be a parody on Chetan Bhagat and his books, which it is not.
Beaten by Bhagath is the story of Balwant Bhagath aka BB, who was once the best friend and classmate of Ketan Bhagath aka K-10, India’s most famous author. He is an executive in a reputed consultancy firm and is rich and successful. When his sexy boss tells him, “I’m sure you can do a much better job than Bhagath”, he decides to give it a try and become an author himself; his goal – “To beat Bhagath”. After reading all of Ketan Bhagath’s books multiple times, he decides on a story and a title – “The Sinner’s Curse”, genre – mixed. The story continues with the BB’s troubles with his family while writing the manuscript, his troubles in getting a publisher for the book, his troubles in roping in a celebrity for the book launch, his troubles in the book promotion and marketing, his troubles in the distribution and sales and his troubles in accepting the fact that his book is a dud and that he is “Beaten by Bhagath”.
Though Beaten by Bhagath is written in a very funny and humorous manner and will make you laugh like mad, it has a very serious message for all the aspiring authors (or any aspiring artist for that matter!!!). The troubles BB faces in his quest, will surely be faced by many others in the field and are serious things to think about before entering the industry. 11 books are released in India every day; many publishers do not even read the manuscripts sent to them; books do not get free press coverage unless there is a celebrity quotient; celebrities charge insane amounts even for 10 minute book launches; how e-commerce sites are manipulating the industry; distributors hold the key to the success of a book; retailers have no obligation or risk if a book does not sell etc. These are just a few points, there are much more in the book and in much detail.
The climax of Beaten by Bhagath is set in future times and I found it a bit absurd. There is no humour in the last few pages of the book which seemed inconsistent with the overall flow of the book. The subplot, in the end, is a bit too futuristic and tough to digest and does not move hand-in-hand with the overall plot.
I loved this book and would definitely read it again but I cannot guarantee it will entertain everybody. If you are very passionate about books or you want to know more about the Indian writing industry or you are an aspiring author then this is a MUST read.