Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I first heard about 'Shantaram' by Gregory Roberts when it was in news couple of years ago, that they are making a movie out of it. I like fiction and books based on real life incidents. I also have this habit of reading books which are/will be made in to movies, to compare and analyse (??). This movie is not yet made. But I got hold of this book now after finishing Vengeance (made into movie titled  'Munich', directed by Spilberg).  I am half way through this in one day and thoroughly enjoying it. Not just the plot but author's perspective of his life and world. Mr. Roberts is sure a very good story-teller, the writing is lucid. Only complaint the book is large (900 + pages) and editing could have been much crispier. I have seen couple of documentaries on Mr. Roberts too and always intrigued to read this novel from long.

Not giving away much plot, this book is a fugitive's story as he sways to unexpected, ruthless turns in his life, some very dark but never giving up the spirit of living. This is a mix of real life incidents of the author and some masala. The story is based in India and Mumbai in particular. One can easily understand from first couple of pages that author is deeply and madly in love with India and even if some parts of it are fiction he wrote them with such a conviction which are not possible unless experienced. As an Indian I wanted to know how a non-Indian sees India and her people. Most of us get to hear from ordinary people, I wanted to see India through this interesting man's viewpoint.

I don't see Mr. Roberts as a hero or a saint or a dark man but definitely interesting. How can a person dawn so many avatars in one life from one extreme to another. Can a person be a good guy and bad guy too?? Can a person kill somebody ruthlessly and in next moment be kind to another and still be considered sane? How does he feel, any remorse, adventorous, shame and what kind of emotions a person has to feel when he goes through such experiences. Is he trying to make a hero of himself, projecting and making us believe only what he wants us to know and sympathize with him. Should he be absolved of his dark side because he served enough (?).  How does the author feel then, now ? How will I feel if I were in his position. This is what I am trying to understand reading this book, trying to understand a person who had more experiences in his life than anyone can possibly have. This book has all elements to be turned into a blockbuster movie !!

 Author: Gregory David Roberts         Novel

1 comment:

sanjeeta said...

hmm.... this can count as a near book-review. thanks.