Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Review: Total Siyappa by Neha Sharma.

Book: Total Siyappa: The Sum of Two Wholes

Author: Neha Sharma

Pages: 224

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 hours.

Read on: My iPad.

Plot Summary: This is the love story of Aman (Pakistani Jazz/Sufi singer) and Asha (Indian journalist), who meet and fall in love in London. The book traces their journey from how they meet to courtship to love as well as gives us glimpses into each of their families and friends. Here is the link to the movie's Wiki page.   

General Thoughts: This book is an adaptation or rather an extended version of the movie of the same name. The movie, Total Siyappa, released earlier this year and starred Yami Gautam and Ali Zafar. I had seen the trailers of the movie online and on TV but never got around to watching it. The reviews were generally negative and that further kept me from watching the movie.

This book was sent to me very kindly by the publishers, Harlequin India, for review purposes. Even though this book was given to me for free, the review and thoughts are all my own and have no bearing on how this book came to me. In short, the review is absolutely honest.

Truth 1: I wouldn't have finished the book had it not been sent to me for review purposes. I was not really into it or enjoying it by page 48 and wanted to put it down. Put it away and not read it at all! But somehow, the idea that it was given to me to review, made me power through and see it to the end.

Truth 2: The only other reason I read it was it's length. 224 pages is not long at all.


What I Liked: 

1. The characters, both Aasha and Aman were well-etched out and crafted. You got to know them pretty well and knew exactly who they were as people.

2. Ditto, with the two sets of families, you got a good sense of the family chemistry, dynamics and history.

3. The secondary characters, even ones that graced the pages for a second, like Aasha's work colleagues and the friends circle were done nicely.

4. The Punjabi-ness of both families, especially Aasha's family was done nicely. Slightly, caricature-ish but enjoyable.

5. The romance build-up slowly and fairly realistically.

6. I liked that Aasha had previously relationships and isn't some idealised perfect Indian girl waiting for her Indian Prince Charming. She lives and loves like any other person who lives in London.

What I Didn't Like: 

1. The writing wasn't fantastic. Not terrible. But not extraordinary.

2. The bickering between Aman and Aasha was a bit off in my opinion. He kept calling her Lady Reporter, which just reminded me of Lady Doctor and she called him Sufi...which was loads better than Lady Reporter.

3. The overall plot and just the way the book was written didn't work for me. The writing made the book rather insipid and, as I mentioned above, the only reason I finished it was because I felt obligated to. The thing is, overall, the concept is good- a Pakistani guy and an Indian girl falling in love. That itself has enough fodder for sufficient drama and a lot of cultural baggage on both sides, which if handled well and sensitively could have really elevated this novel. This book seemed like a very superficial effort.

Would You Like It?: Not sure. There are some redeeming qualities there- like I have mentioned. If you are looking for something light or want to read about desis or read a story with a lot of Punjabi colour, then perhaps you will enjoy this book.

Rating: 2/5 

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