Q&A - Vikas Swarup

Q&A by Vikas Swarup has everything to make it big as a bollywood movie. It has a hero, love, revenge, betrayal, violence, action, suspense, thrill, mother sentiment, clichés like hero using a one-rupee coin to decide when in dilemma, lot of melodrama and almost 0% logic at many places. But yet, Vikas makes the book interesting to read, with a unique idea and plot to connect all these elements in a single thread.

It is about how an 18-year-old waiter in a restaurant (strangely) named Ram Mohammed Thomas wins highest amount ever won by a person in the world by participating in a TV quiz game show called Who Will Win a Billion?. The book is nothing but a take on the social and cultural evils of Indian metros through the eyes of an 18-year-old orphan. It can also be said as a biography on adventurous life of an 18-year-old boy broken into 12 episodes and told in a non-linear fashion. I like way the story sequenced in a non-chronological order.

For each question the boy goes back to an incident in his life, which gives him the correct answer. The author cleverly has put this incident first preceding the actual question he was asked in the quiz thereby creating some curiosity in readers mind. We keep guessing which part of the incident in his life has the answer for the question which itself is yet to be revealed to us. But at some places, I felt some incidents happen just for the sake of throwing information with which the boy will win the question especially the initial ones. Each of the episodes is a short story in itself with a fresh starting, a problem coming in the middle and then it getting solved by some heroic actions of the boy in the end. And that makes us keep intrigued even after crossing the incident that we guess to have the answer for the question to be asked.

Initially (before completing the first chapter) I thought that for each question he would correlate lot of incidents in his life and arrive at an answer after lot of analysis but that happens only for two or three questions at that too at the end. The author is more interested on exhibiting the true face of Indians and its pretentious culture. So he covers as many evils in the Indian society as possible but he has interestingly embedded the cause and the consequences of these evils in each episode of Ram’s life. It is quite hard to believe that an 18-year-old guy can have such an experience with the society in real life but who knows the boys in such a social strata may.

The author gradually increases the number of pages of the stories before each question as he reaches to final set of questions. His intention may be to create same curiosity in the readers mind as that in long commercial breaks and thrilling moments in the quiz show before they ask the questions that award the participant with large sum of money. But that doesn’t happen here instead, the stories drag a bit towards the end of the book. But author somehow makes it up with some unexpected twists and turns. If you are going to buy the book, have popcorn by your side and be ready to read the script of a wholesome bollywood masala entertainer that is very much in the making.


RËÅGÂÑ™ said...


What movie is the song "Thendral vandhu theendum podhu" from? Sorry to interupt from a different post but cant help it since i wanna get your attention. Hope you don't mind.

Suresh Kumar said...

it is from "Avatharam" directed by Nasser.

RËÅGÂÑ™ said...

Thanks alot Suresh, really do appreciate it. I really hope you don't mind.

Suresh, any plans for Thambi music review?

Suresh Kumar said...

ofcourse yes, Thambi has got some beautiful melodies. Probably i will post it tommorow.