Friday, October 30, 2015

Book Review: The House that BJ Built (Anuja Chauhan)

After the eminently enjoyable 'Those Pricey Thakur Girls', Anuja Chauhan is back with another sparkler. The setting remains the same but now the action has now moved on to next generation. The hell raising Thakur sisters have settled down and one of them is no longer alive. It is the romance between her orphaned daughter and the stepson of another sister that form the crux of this novel.

The fiesty young Thakur girl Bonu who now inhabits the old house turns out to a real enterprising type and has actully set up a full blown fabrication unit ( she rips off the latest designer outfits and sells/exports the fakes at a much lower price) within the four walls of the ancestral property. But one fine day the hero Samar (or rather her childhood crush who is now a hotshot director) turns up at the doorstep unexpectedly after a Bollywood scandal forces him to take a sabbatical. Things are beginning to stir up but then everything turns upside down with the elderly Thakur passing away.

The family gets embroiled in a property dispute with the old tenants from the North East adding to the problems at hand. Greedy relatives, a property shark and raking up an inhouse agreement that is supposed to have been forgotten a long time back, further complicates the matter. The Bollywood angle just serves to add to the drama that ensues. Anuja has explored the way in which Bollywood functions, the petty ego clashes and the tantrums that are part and parcel of this madness. Samar's Bollywood designer girlfriend whose designs are favorite with Bonu adds another interesting angle.

Anuja attempts to take a dig at the people who blindly join various cults and try to show off their spiritual trappings to the world. One of the Thakur sisters has morphed into such an individual who keeps lamenting that 'Money is Mael'. But does not lose any opportunity when it comes to grabbing handfuls of this dirt.

The romance is all feel good and mushy mushy. And the humor is spot on. Readers are rewarded with a Bollywood style climax where the hero and heroine finally come together despite everything.  Hardly any wonder given that Anuja Chauhan is the pioneer when it comes to 'chick-lit' on the Indian literary scene. 

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