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Sunday, 7 August 2016

Book review : The Sialkot Saga

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I recently finished reading up , the Sialkot Saga ,  the latest book by Ashwin Sanghi .  Here's my review of the book.

The story revolves around the lives of two male protagonists , Arvind and Arbaaz . Both having their own ways and sense of business , start from humble beginnings to become two of the richest and most powerful people in India . Its a story of how their lives are  entwined owing to personal and business rivalries and how the political and economic scenario of India across several decades affect their decisions and actions .

While the narrative is interesting , there is an element of predictability as most of the events seem to have been portrayed in countless Bollywood movies . A young Muslim slum dweller starts from the streets of Mumbai to become the right hand man of the most powerful don of Mumbai eventually replacing the latter and earning a position of power in politics . A young Marwari boy starts on his own with unique ideas of money-making which do not border on the ethical and conventional to manipulating the share market and investment sector , amassing a great fortune in the process . It all sounds familiar but nevertheless interesting with adequate amount of drama .With Bollywood , underworld and politics thrown in the mix , it definitely packs a punch .

Like all other Ashwin Sanghi stories , this one too has a connection to ancient Indian history which is narrated in parallel to the main storyline , eventually merging into a single conclusion . The story brings into account powerful Indian rulers of different times starting right from Emperor Ashoka to Maharaja Ranjit Singh .  In the main plot , each decade is marked with significant events that changed the lives and mindset of the people of India .

Positives :

1) The crisp narrative leading the reader through several decades of events without suffering from unnecessary dragging .
2) Detailed explanations of the functioning of stocks , shares and investments with well placed actual references which makes the financial heroics of the protagonists realistic .
3) Major events in modern Indian history and politics have been very well crafted into the storyline.

Negatives :

1) Lack of any major twists or revelations . Predictable turn of events .
2) A lukewarm ending to an otherwise action packed story .


Overall , The Sialkot Saga is a heady mix of potent ingredients but might end up leaving the reader wanting for that missing element .

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