Book Review · Fiction

Book Review : Battle for Bittora by Anuja Chauhan @anujachauhan @HarperCollinsIN

Title : Battle for Bittora

Author : Anuja Chauhan

Genre : Rom-Com ; Politics ; Humor

Pages : 426

BLURB

Twenty-five-year-old Jinni lives in Mumbai, works in a hip animation studio and is perfectly happy with her carefree and independent existence. Until her bossy grandmother shows up and announces that it is Jinni’s ‘duty’ to drop everything and come and contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from their sleepy hometown, Bittora. Of course Jinni swears she won’t. But she soon ends up swathed in cotton saris and frumpy blouses, battling prickly heat, corruption and accusations of nymphomania as candidate Sarojini Pande, a daughter of the illustrious Pande dynasty of Pavit Pradesh. And if life isn’t fun enough already, her main opposition turns out to be Bittora ex-royal, Zain Altaf Khan – an irritatingly idealistic though undeniably lust-worthy individual with whom Jinni shares a complicated history…

REVIEW

Battle for Bittora is a fun filled. humorous, romantic and very realistically written political rom-com. This novel revolves around the Parliamentary election of India which precisely focuses on a particular constituency called Bittora, a fictional place in a fictional state of Pavit Pradesh which is located somewhere in the northern part of India. This novel will take you through the entire procedure a Lok Sabha Election and the inside happenings of political parties in India during the time of elections.

As it has been established in the blurb earlier, the 25 year old Sarojini aka Jini was forced to stand in the MP Election from the ticket of a very famous party in the country which in fact helped India in gaining her freedom against the British. In order to carry forward the legacy of Saraojini’s Freedom Fighter Grandfather and a Political stalwart of a Grandmother, Sarojini steps into politics without much interest as such. When you do something with least interest, the chances of you succeeding in it is very lower and to make things more difficult, Sarojini’s battle to win over the votes of the people of Bittora becomes very meager as she is made to stand against a very strong opponent.

Her major opponent turn out be an extremely good looking ex-royal Muslim guy, Zain Altaf Khan whom the entire of Bittora loves and respects because he has a very good credentials than Jini. And to make things even more worse Jini and Zain has a very complicated past. But the only confusing thing here is, Zain Altaf Khan is made to stand in the election from the party ticket of a party which is not particularly very secular. Zain’s party is a Hindutva party which is determined to make India a Hindu country and it doesn’t adds up why Zain despite being a Muslim and much forward thinking and determinant guy will align himself with this kind of a party and what is his motive ? Who will win this Battle ? And who is more competent to be the most eligible Member of Parliament from Bittora and how these two fight each other ? is the story of this book.

Firstly, the plot was very natural and realistic. There was not a bit of artificiality in it. The pace of the plot will take speed within the first few pages of the book. The character development and arc of Sarojini was slow and steady and remarkable. It is very normal for people feel entitled to read about a revolutionary and righteous characters whenever it comes to reading or watching political fiction. We all want a hero/heroine who is very great and idealistic, to come forward and stand in the election and clean up all the dirt that’s been prevailing in the political system for years. Don’t we want them to change everything in one song ? But can that really happen in real life ? No right ? That’s why author didn’t take that approach, Anuja Chauhan is a very realistic person who only writes about stuffs which are possible in reality. In this book, the author had showcased politics, elections and political parties as it is. We all know about the money peddling that happens during election but still we want an ideal candidate and ideal story line which is revolutionary, don’t we ? The author has taken a different angle and wanted us see the plot through her eyes and ideas.

The best thing about this book is the author had managed to give a precise inside view of these political parties, what they do during elections ? how they canvas votes ? how they prepare for election ? Who are the people who are helping out a candidate win their candidature and election and lot more. We all would have seen election campaigns happening all around us during the election times but we wouldn’t have paid much attention to. This book focuses on all the nuances of conducting an election and participating in one. It was really exciting to read. Even if you are not someone who is into elections and politics you will love this whole procedure because the vibe it gave was extremely great and it was almost festive like.

Of course, there were few issues with this book and the most major one among them was there were usage of lots of Hindi words in the book which made it more or less like a Hinglish novel. Definitely, these words and slang brought about the true essence of the region and a book should absolutely convey it but an apt and timely translation was lagging and it would have been really useful for the Non-Hindi people. Because Anuja Chauhan is known for her witty and layered writing style, if the readers miss one word they might be missing out something really great and funny that’s there in the plot and that’s the readers loss. The second major issue was why Zain was participating in the election from a Hindutva party that’s not friendly with the Muslim population wasn’t justified deeply. A bit more of an in-depth, clear and proper reasoning and justification would have been even more satisfying.

The characterization of Zain Altaf Khan was out of the world experience, his presence was very minimal in the book which was quite disappointing but however in the minimal time he was present in the book was totally mind blowing. He was carefree and very sportive, he never takes anything very personal and he is always game-on kind of a guy particularly during election times and all. Though at times Sarojini thinks he is kind of moody and stuff but he was real fun. Sarojini had her set of flaws and pluses which only made her more real. The story majorly revolves around Sarojini and her journey in the election. There were lots of interesting and strong characters around her helping her out in the campaigning. Especially women, like her grandmother, her mom, campaign manager Gudia aunty and Munni. They were all very interesting to read about. The slang in which Jini’s grandmother speaks was spectacular, as you read, you yourself will start sounding like her grandmother. And her grandmother’s dialogues had been written tremendously. Her grandmother is a kind of a very confusing character, one moment you love and adore her, on the other you hate and be annoyed with her and sometimes you feel sad for her. Obviously we all would have these kind of characters in our lives. Sarojini’s mother was very idealistic and a good-hearted woman. Sarjini’s only friend Gaiman Tagore Rumi and a media person Nausar Nulwallah turned out to be a very healthy and apt attachment to the plot, they will keep the readers entertained whenever they make their presence on the pages of the book.

There were a handful of wild and adventures moments in this book which will make the reading process all the more funny, interesting and thrilling. How the media reacts to a particular situations has also been elaborately told in the book. With her writing style Anuja Chauhan had brought Bittora in front of the readers eyes.

This book actually tried to convey, how religion and caste are feed into the people’s mind, heart, body and blood and how it is completely difficult to take that mindset away from them. How no one is truly secular or truly caste free. Even the people who consider themselves as secular would have certain prejudices against people from certain religion, caste or community. At least 90 – 98 % of the people are affected by these non secular and casteist mindset. It also throw some light on the two major political parties in the country, how they are different from each other and mostly how they are not actually very different from each other. It was eye opening. The author had also made some real life political references in the book without pointing hands directly but it was obvious and those moments were really fun and shocking to read because Anuja Chauhan had done some serious predictions which is happening right now in Indian Politics. To know what it is, read the book keenly.

MY VIEWS

I absolutely love Anuja Chauhan so much, that is why I have taken it upon myself to do an Anuja Chauhan readathon along with a friend. I’m reading all her books now and Battle for Bittora turns out to be the second book I’m reading from the author. I liked the total idea of the book because it is set in the political background and if you haven’t noticed already I like to read books that talks about Indian political arena and politics. But however, I started this book with totally different mindset and the book turned out to be a completely different one. Initially I was skeptical about the surprise because I was like “I wasn’t expecting this” but then I gradually warmed up to the idea and I loved it so much in the due course.

I loved all the adventurous trip Jini takes on and I totally love Zain Altaf Khan, oh come on, how good the name sounds ? I love this name so much. First it was Nikhil Khoda and now it’s Zain Altaf Khan. Wow!! Where does Anuja Chauhan selects all these names from ? My only disappointment was I didn’t get sufficient amount of glance at Zain, I wanted to read more of him.

And of course, they were lots of details and layers in Anuja Chauhan’s writing and I feel like I need to read it again to totally immerse and glaze myself in her writing style. And whatever she said in the book had an authenticity to it, I don’t know she brings it to her writing.

At the end of the book, it was told Anuja Chauhan’s grandparents-in-law were the parliament’s first romantic couple and they have also given a picture of them and I did a bit more of research on her family background. I guess she got some first hand experience from her mother-in-law Margaret Alva who is a politician as well. And I suspect that’s how she is bring the authentic voice to her plot and characters which is really hard.

My rating for this book would be 4 out of 5 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Since it is an Anuja Chauhan book, you can only fall in love with it the more, the more you read it again because you keep discovering new things every time you read it again. And I guess if I read it again some two years later, I might like this book an extra more and I might increase the rating of the book as well 😀 So don’t blame me then!

I would like to recommend this book to Indian author lovers, people who are addicted to light hearted and rom-com kind of books and also to people who are interested in political stuff. You will love this book to the moon and back.

Click here to buy the book!

Do read this book and let me know how you feel about it.

Yeah, and I have an extra information for you, Battle for Bittora’s movie adaptation is coming which is being starred by Sonam Kapoor and Fawad Khan. I don’t have much confidence in Sonam Kapoor after watching The Zoya Factor because she actually ruined the movie. Let’s hope the movie will turn out alright and she gives a good performance. This is kind of an old information, so I don’t know how far the plan has been materialized but let’s hope for the best :/

Happy Reading Folks!!

~ Meenu

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