BOOK – REVOLUTION 2020
AUTHOR – CHETAN BHAGAT
GENRE- LIGHT FICTION
YEAR PUBLISHED – 2011
MY RATING – *****/10
Review by Shazneen Gazdar Pathak
The tagline (Love. Corruption. Ambition.) , Refers to the key themes of the book.
Revolution 2020 is the story of three childhood friends: Gopal, Raghav, and Aarti. The story is set in the holy-city of Varanasi.
Gopal comes from a poor family the son of a debt-ridden, suffering retired teacher, whose land is under litigation and who has a mysterious ailment for which he needs an operation. Raghav is from an almost well to do family exceptionally intelligent and is expected to crack the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) and the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) examinations, where as Aarti comes from a kind of bureaucratic and political family. Pretty daughter of a well-off District Magistrate and she has a grandfather who was once a Chief Minister of the state.
Three of them have their own ambitions in life. Gopal wants to be a rich man, Raghav wants to change the world and Aarti wants to become an air hostess.
Aarti is Gopal's closest friend, and Gopal loves her since the day he decided to steal a slab of the chocolate cake she had brought for lunch. The friendship that started in the fifth standard through the incident gradually took its own course over the Ganga over innumerable boat rides and unspoken ballads of love, one sided of course.
As the story progresses, Raghav crack JEE and join IIT-BHU, Gopal is unable to get through, is forced to move to Kota to prepare and reappear for those exams. As Gopal being away for a long time , gives opportunity to Raghav and Aarti to be together and seal their relationship, There at Kota he receives the biggest shock of his life when he learns that Aarti has now become Raghav's girlfriend and thus he fails again in the AIEEE. His father cannot bear this and dies, leaving behind debts, which he had taken for the education of his son.
Gopal makes a deal with MLA Shukla to create an engineering college on his disputed land. With the blessings, the clout, muscle, and the money of the MLA, Gopal embarks on a road that leads to the building of GangaTech — a private engineering college He became director of the new college and learns about the corrupt system and starts living with it.
Raghav, who graduates as an engineer from BHU, takes up a job as a reporter for a newspaper, he who has all that life can offer him along with academic success and even the girl of his and Gopal’s dreams, strives to make a difference in the society instead of finding work as an engineer after having passed out with excellent grades, a degree millions of students only dream of attaining in the country. He dreams of bringing in a revolution that will change the country by the year 2020 and is prepared to face any hardships to make sure this dream comes true
He starts publishing all the wrong doings of Shukla which causes harm to Gopal's college. Illegal rezoning of land controversy causes some demolition to Ganga- Tech College. Shukla gets Raghav sacked but Raghav starts his own paper called Revolution 2020. He publishes stuff about the wrong doing of the MLA and proves that Shukla is a corrupt man. Shukla is forced to resign.
Aarti, all this time had been lonely as Raghav had no time for her when she realizes that she will be always second to his revolution, decides that she after all did actually love the corrupt engineering college director who is also her best friend.
The story is all about who wins – the girl and in life; the boy who has everything after having sold all he believed in or the boy who has limited means but stands up for what he knows is right.
(I have been a spoiled sport by telling the entire story but, purposefully have not revealed the end!!!!!)
Revolution 2020 sets out to do something else. The book throws the dice by asking the question, ‘Are You Ready for the Revolution’, on its back cover.
By doing so, it takes a high moral ground and you begin to imagine this could be the book version of movies like “YUVA “or “RANG DE BASANTI “
I’m afraid the book is none of that. As a reader, I felt the story is boring, it is a typical stuff which each one of knows and I believe has seen many a times in our Bollywood movies or even T.V Serials. Chetan Bhagat has successfully been able to portray the love triangle in his book.
Following the tradition of the latest Bollywood movies, you can find few swearing words which start with letters b and a and f. The grammar yet again is nothing that can be applauded about. It has its loopholes. Yet it is the grammar that would probably be understood by the masses. It has slangs and a jargon that the Indian youth use today. And something that sells. The language of the book is best suited for people who have just been introduced to the world of reading but will probably choke a refined reader. It is a breezy read that will leave no impression in the minds of the reader.
It is dramatic in a garish way, idealistic without the backing of reason and sadly self indulgent.
The details of Ghats of Ganges makes the atmosphere live. At 4.00 am a ride on a loan boat thrills and it could have been romantic if "the one you love had loved you back”. This story is character centric rather than based on a plot.
To sum it up the author has come up with a complete package of relationships like love, jealousy, turning of relations from boy-girl to man-women, system loopholes of corruption and power misuse and Education system.
If it nails one thing, it is the systemic corruption in the education system but pity that the pointless love story gets in the way of what could have been a great read.
About the Reviewer
Shazneen, a busy homemaker these days, absolutely treasures the time spent with her wonderful husband and 6 year old son. Yoga, green tea and quality time with family are top priority on any given day and she feels blessed to have been able to achieve what she did in her professional and family life. Reading and writing are hobbies she likes to pursue in her spare time.
Her writings on http://reflectionandperception.blogspot.com/ capture the enthusiasm to self challenge and rediscover hidden traits.