R.I.P. by Mukul Deva

Mukul Deva is being hailed in the literary circles as the next big thing in the Indian thriller writing world. Perhaps truly so, as one after one his books hit the bestseller mark with ease. During my recent travels I read his recent book R.I.P – The Resurgent Indian Patriots.
The book is about vigilante activism in the center of which is retired Colonel Krishna Athawale and his K-Team. Sounds like Liam Neeson’s A- Team, doesn’t it? Yes, the story seems to coming directly from the good old English movies watching which we all grew up. But the plot is definitely Indian. Fed up with the corruption in the Indian political class, Krishna an ex- para military commando along with his team, decides to take action. But the politicians are politicians after all. So they send CBI after his team and secretively they also send another team led by Raghav Bhagat to hunt and kill the RIP team. Now Raghav is both corrupt and also an ex- para military commando. So, the story chugs along almost on predictable scale. Political and social events that actually happened in India in 2011 – 12 have been liberally used albeit fictionally.
There is also an angle of love with both Krishna and Raghav pursuing the same woman, Reena. Now Reena is a journalist and a single parent to Azaan who is the best friend of Sachin, son of Krishna who also happens to be a single parent.
The narrative is pacy and quick. The obvious resemblances to so many American vigilante stories make the story quite predictable. Where the book trails off in my opinion is the context.  Corruption is no longer a huge deal in India.  It does not even make a good election issue; leave alone a novel’s backbone. At present, the social activism against corruption is as good as dead. The opposition is sacrificing a leader after leader on the issue over moral grounds. But the ruling party is doing the opposite. It is rewarding the corrupt and has the support of the people in it. This is where the issue of corruption loses steam. The people of India are not against it.
Nevertheless, this is an outstanding work of fiction and Mukul has done a great job with the narrative. I would strongly recommend it to all patriots who think of a million ways to better the country but never are able to do so.

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