Friday, October 21, 2011

Book Review: Revolution 2020

Love. Corruption. Ambition. Three words are all that is needed to describe the book. Revolution 2020 is Chetan Bhagat's 5th book. Like all his other books, this one is also destined to be a best-seller. This is what Chetan Bhagat has to say on the book "Revolution 2020 is foremost a love story, in fact a love triangle, as both Gopal and Raghav love the same girl (Aarti). Corruption, particularly in the education sector, is the backdrop of the story.
Target Audience:
  1. Chetan Bhagat fans. You guys will love the book, no matter what!!
  2. Indian Youth (huge market this)
  3. Entrepreneurs. You will know what it takes to start a new academic institution.
  4. People in love-triangles (if you are actually aware you are in one)
Plot: Its the story of Gopal, Aarti and Raghav, three youngsters from Varanasi. Gopal is the son of a retired teacher who's deep in debt and struggling to earn a living. Aarti is the daughter of DM and is from an elite class. Raghav is an extremely intelligent boy who clears the top engineering entrance exams with ease. Gopal and Aarti are best-friends from school days. Gopal has a thing for Aarti who doesn't see him that way. The story revolves around how Gopal copes with his studies, high expectations of his ailing father and also trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to woo Aarti. Meanwhile Raghav and Aarti fall in love. Gopal goes through some financial and emotional turmoil, which eventually leads him to become a director of his own academic institution. GangaTech. Raghav gets a job in top newspaper as a trainee. Raghav is determined to end corruption. Gopal's situation forces him to adopt corruption to succeed. Aarti has to balance her life and time between her boy-friend Raghav and best-friend Gopal. All the complications unravel later on. How? You have to read the book to find out! Honestly, the story was a bit of a dampener. As you start grasping the story, you will realize it is following a straight forward path. And you are right, it is. Until you reach the climax. That's where there is a dramatic change in the story-line - Movie style. That's about it, as far as twist-n-turns are concerned - not typical of Chetan Bhagat books.

Writing: Typical Chetan Bhagat writing. It starts with the Prologue which introduces us to the background of the story and how the story originated, and ends with the epilogue, which provides apt closure. The protagonist in the book is Gopal. It's Gopal's narration of the story. Of the three central characters depicted in the book, the author has selected the right person's narration. Had the author gone for Raghav's narration, the book would have turned into a full fledged anti-corruption book and would have hardly had any takers and would have hampered Chetan Bhagat's positioning. Had the author gone for Aarti's narration, it would have turned out to be a chick-book (similar to chick-flick). Gopal's narration provides a down-to-earth, average boy's outlook on life, studies, ambitions, love and the situations which trap him into being what he eventually turned out to be. Chetan Bhagat has vividly explained the competition in the education sector, prevailing corruption, mushrooming of coaching classes et al.

Relevance in today's times: Now this is where the author hits the nail on the head. Not once, but repeatedly hits it!! The theme of the movie is apt considering the current state of affairs in the Indian political system. The youth and old in India are fighting corruption. In reality, one man stood up to corruption. In the book, one youngster stands up to change the system. The book portrays how corruption is prevalent in the education system, how bribes are taken and given at every nook-n-corner, how anyone and everyone are eligible to open educational institutions - if you have adequate land. The book also touches upon the plight of students in India and how important it is to get into one of the "top" colleges. And finally, it shows how one man can actually make a significant difference to the society, if he is passionate enough.

To sum it up, the author has come up with a complete package of relationships (love, emotions, boy-girl relationships turning into man-woman relationships, jealousy), systemic loopholes (corruption, power-misuse), Education system (importance of IIx's, coaching classes industry). But the main reason why the book will sell (apart from it being a Chetan Bhagat book) is because it addresses corruption as a matter-of-fact way to do business in India - Chetan Bhagat style. However, if I have to compare all 5 books of Chetan Bhagat, this book will come a distant second only to Five Point Someone and very close to (but ahead of) 2 States. It loses out on the story-line which is not as enticing as we expect from Chetan Bhagat's book (Read: Five Point Someone). It also falls short on the expectation factor - this book has been released 2 years after "2 States" - expectations were sky-high. Somehow the book couldn't live upto it.

After-thought: Revolution 2020 could very well have been written for a movie. Who knows, some production house might buy the movie right!! After all, the market is ready to witness such a movie!!

My Rating: 3.5 / 5


  1. I was contemplating on whether to read it or not...and after reading this, i have decided Not to read.
    I liked his Five point n 2 whr utter crap and i guess this too will join the crap gang.

  2. Gopal's sudden introspection could have come gradually. Other than that, the book was different and I liked reading the book. Raghav was my favorite character.

    Nicely written.

  3. Looks like an entertainer. Thanks for the review...

  4. @Red Handed: I guess this book is as good as 2 States but not better than Five Point Someone.. I didnt regret spending time on this book..

    @Ashwini: True yaar.. The introspection was sudden in the book.. We had no idea what was going on.. And then it suddenly strikes.. Similar to a Bollywood movie..

  5. the book is worth has nice twist at the end....

  6. Thanks for reading the review Abhi.. And yes, you are right... The twist is interesting, but should have been a little more gradual..

  7. Nice book , overall a nice review , would rate it 4.5 / 5 !! Gopal is my true hero, his sacrifice and devotion is a rare quality which I guess Raghav would not had even 0.00001 % of Gopal !!

  8. Thanks KayBee.. But am quite surprised you picked Gopal as ur true hero.. Am sure many would disagree on that :)

  9. Must be an enjoyable read Revolution 2020 by Chetan Bhagat. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

  10. Thanks Rohit, glad you liked the review!!

  11. This is one of the books which I really loved. As you rightly said he has hit on the nail and not once but repeatedly. The best part is that its not a love story as it seems to be, but its a slap on the face of the corrupt society we have become.
    And the best part was its end, totally unpredictable and leaves the reader in the state of shock for few moments. A must read I will say.
    Story in pieces

  12. Good review Binu. I read the book and it was not as captivating when compared to his 4 other books. I have read all. I like his writing, simple and straight forward.

    I felt he could have touched each of those issues in a much more deeper manner.

  13. @Prashant: I somehow feel he did the best he could have done with the book. Yes, it fell short of most of our expectation.


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