Title: The Candidate
Author: Anirudh Bhattacharyya
Publisher: Penguin India
ISBN No: 9780143422570
Price: INR 295/- (Paperback)
The Candidate is a fictional tale of elections in India and the various colorful party candidates involved. The story is a humorous take on the shenanigans of the Indian political party offices. It introduces us to some good, bad and ugly characters in the system, without revealing their true identities or the inspirations for these characters. The Candidate is not a serious book, and not meant to be taken seriously as the guide to Indian elections.
Anirudh Bhattacharyya has taken a hot topic and managed to create a cool and chilled out story; the drama is very much there but the fireworks we see are the celebratory kind and not injurious to anyone’s health. The cast of this breezy read are as vibrant as the colors of the kaleidoscope and equally eclectic, their physical characteristics and emotional make-up complementing each other.
My heart goes out to the innocent babe-in-the-woods, Jay Banerjee, the woods being the maze of Indian politics. His friend, Govardhan Ray aka Raja, a not so honest and upright minister, gradually and slyly nudges him into the quicksand of Indian politics. Jay is asked to resign from his office at the Wall Street, followed by his wife asking him to move out of the family home as she needs space to think about their 14 years of marriage and where it is headed. The leap from the frying pan into the fire is completed with Jay being coerced to join politics on coming to India.
His journey and initiation into this profession and his child-like wonder and naiveté is endearing. He encounters many interesting characters while on his way to fight for the Narayanpore seat in West Bengal; the young 20-something starlet, Pinky Mishra, TMC’s candidate for Narayanpore -the aging Bollywood star- Mallika Devi, the cricketing star turned political candidate from the Left Front, Salman Sheikh, the team members that Raja sends with Jay to help him win the seat at Narayanpore- Arindam, Anisur, Arunuva Guha and the attractive journalist Madhabi Majumdar.
What do Jay and Mrinalini decide after they have had time to think about their marriage?
Does Jay’s daughter, Joy, ever get to see her father campaigning at Narayanpore?
Who wins the elections and who wins Jay’s heart?
Read this book for answers to all these questions and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised at the end, and through the journey to the answers itself.
By Sulekha Rawat