Sikandar – Book Review

The book is basically a bengali novel by Binayak Banerjee, translated by Soma Ghosh. The story starts with the concept of the new reality show ‘Sikandar’, the first of its kind in Bengal being shown on the news, similar to the ‘Big Boss’ show we have. Then we get to know the characters who stay in the house named ‘Jatugriha’. Kanishka Dasgupta, the handsome filmstar, Rangajoba Sanyal, a revolutionist mother who’s daughter is ill, Shubhrangshu Maity, duped by his best friend, Priyobrata and beaten up for protesting against eve-teasing, Aindrila Roy Saksena, a singer who had married and divorced a producer, Makhan Mandal, a politician, the outspoken Bonolata Pattanayek, Lalit Bajoria, the pitiless bussinessman, Lovely, a prostitute, a Swami Samyuktanand, and the last Elizabeth Mitra, a teacher.

The first two weeks in the house are set to get to know the other characters, and hence there is no elimination, it takes a serious turn from the third week towards the end. The third week sees the affair of the businessman with Aindrila, and his voteout of the show. The next week has Aindrila pour out her heart to Lovely, and her oust. Bonolata was next to leave the show after her closeness to Shubhrangshu. He realises her love the subsequent week and is the next to leave the show. Makhan tries to help Joba but has to leave in round six, Joba realises she can do little to save her daughter, and is voted out next.

Lovely is fighting a case of her friend Pinky’s rape and murder with the help of a lawyer, Hrishikesh, who she falls in love with, and also learns a lot from, Swami helps her in finding her way, and she leaves the house next. Samyuktanand sees a way out of his darkness and is voted out next. The last two contestants left in the round ten are Elizabeth Mitra and Kanishka Dasgupta, who are about to marry each other but the past does not let them to and you will have to read the book to know of the Sikandar, who wins in the end. Each character of the show as he leaves, finds his way out his problems and hence does not lose anything.

It was a serious story of struggle in the house and the depth of the lives, each one of them have lived so far, and also on how some of their lives have been chained or related together but the end was not any sensational. I found the stories of the prostitute, Aindrila and the filmstar interesting. I am sure the book would have been a hit in Bengal, where the story is based, there are just too many references to it and I found it a bit boring in the center. I think it was a good idea to divide the stories based on narrator, and also the rounds when each is voted out. That put the track back into my head, and I gained back interest. All in all, I would rate it a 2/5.

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