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60 Minutes – Updendra Namburi

A pacy corporate thriller with all the right ingredients. What happens when individuals rise above the name of their companies? What happens when corporate rivalry becomes personal, very very personal? Egos take over and the big corporate, which make less sense anyway, start making even less of a sense.
60 minutes is a story of sixty minutes of life of Agastya and Sailesh, two people on the opposing sides of a battlefield. The battlefield here is of detergents. Who will win and who will lose is and what would be the cost of the victory is what this book is all about. It reminds you of the famous detergent rivalries between P&G (Tide) and Hindustan Unilever (Rin, Surf etc.) which are being battled about for years now. So the story begins with this new detergent that Agastya plans to launch. He has worked hard for past some time to get it going. This is going to be one of the biggest brand launches by his company in recent times. But his rival Sailesh plays spoilsport and tries his best to scuttle the launch by throwing spanners in his work. Now Agastya has to respond but he has been taken by surprise and has just sixty minutes to right everything, make Sailesh retreat and get a successful product launch. Breathing down his neck at the same time is his mistress who wants a lot of his money, attention and time. Something which he can’t give at the moment. But she won’t have any of it. So on top of his career, now his personal life is under threat as well.
Add to it the compulsive addictions, for Agastya which is stock speculations. Like a gambler he plays the high stake games of equity markets. Then there are the women with whom he sleeps around. The character of Agastya is very well written by the author. I hated that woman, Maithili totally.
But when two people slug it out in the open, the opportunists are the ones who extract the maximum blood. In this case as well, as Sailesh and Agastya fight it out, others are trying to make the best out of it, by using this battle as a means to advance their own careers. After all they both hold very high positions in their respective companies. Personal ambitions can be easily fulfilled by manipulating their fight.
Sailesh is also a well sketched out character but the author seems to have dwelled less time on him. He is this academic chap who has stumbled into the corporate world and is sucked into the myriad of opportunities and options given to him. He has determined Agastya as his foe and will stop at absolutely nothing to destroy him. His astute and sharp brain churns out a master plan too. But will this hatred be his undoing? Read the book to know more.
Then there is this vamp kinda character Maithili. I hated her all through the book. Do we even need an excuse for actions of such people? These are the kind of people who disturb the society most.
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