Saturday, 7 July 2012

Book Review: The Missed Call by Sidharth Oberoi

The setting, a Delhi school – The Presidency Convent. Enter Ms. Natasha Malhotra, a spoilt young girl from a broken home. Natasha is pretty and has it all, but a rival emerges, in the form of Ananya. Natasha, Ananya, Yuvraj (Natasha’s ex-boyfriend), other boys such as Rana, are wont to make out in dark corners of libraries and sleep around, as many Indian youngsters do these days. Natasha is the sort of spiteful girl who cannot accept a loss without plotting her revenge against someone even if it was all her fault. When she was much younger, she had planted a load of porn in her classmate Shreya’s bag.

Natasha has a fall, in the middle of the hall, so to say. As she looks for revenge, she has the honest and good Shreya by her side, counselling her and holding her back from harming herself. A prestigious science quiz competition sees Natasha, Shreya and the rude Vicky thrown together in the same team and they are forced to cooperate and work together. Is Natasha able to channel positive energies and comes out smiling or does she slip into a vortex of hatred and anger? You'll have to read this easy-to-read novel to find out.

Sidharth Oberoi doesn’t exist. Two individuals - Durjoy Dutta & Nikita Singh – have ghost written The Missed Call. Durjoy Dutta is one of the two co-founders of Grapevine India.

To be honest, I did not like The Missed Call, which is the second book in Grapevine India's "Backbenchers" Series. The quality of writing is much lower than Chetan Bhagat’s first novel – Five Point Something. In terms of story-telling skill, Sidharth Oberoi is nowhere close to Bhagat. The Missed Call’s story seems to be one written on the back of a tissue and later fleshed out to cater to a perceived market for simple populist fiction written in basic English. Having said that, I'm sure there are folks out there who will like The Missed Call for its simplicity, in both style and substance.

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