THE MALHOTRA BRIDE
Rating: Four Stars
BANNER: FLAMING SUN
Sundari Venkatraman and the sheer stroke of her pen spell like divine magic that I want to rob for my literary pleasure. ‘The Malhotra Bride comes as a gush of fresh air that waft dash of romance, spell-bound narration, offering twinge of naughtiness and late drama unfurling in pure filmi fashion. Sundari introduces an endearing and super cool Grand Pa that you will love like anything. The loving Grandpa is someone you would wish for to make your life a roller-coaster ride.
Verdict: The Malhotra Bride, a winner from pillar to post, will make you revel in the beauty of love and fancying the most genuine-cum-pure emotions evoked by the heart. Love is magic and Sundari taps the villainy act that spruces up in the world of Sunita Rishi and the untoward situation that almost makes your heart stop beating. Bang! It brings your reading to a halt and finally, love triumph.
Sunita Rishi’s just turned twenty, having completed her graduation. She wants to fly free as a bird, explore career options and travel the world. Does she have a choice when Mamma & Pappa insist on arranging her marriage? Born in a rich business family steeped in tradition, Sunita has a tough job on her hands. Can she stop the tide?
Tall, dark and handsome, Akshay Malhotra is the catch of the decade. The only son of Billionaire Raj Malhotra, he’s in a strange fix. His father’s keen that Akshay meets Sunita with marriage in mind. He’s too close to his parents to say ‘no’ for the preliminary meeting. And then he comes face-to-face with Sunita….
Will Sunita be falling from the frying pan into the fire when she agrees to become The Malhotra Bride?
Sundari Venkatraman has the natural gift to connect with the youth. This is something I keep repeating several times. What makes a book connect? The simple writing that touches the heart, an ode to love in weaving a simple tale that is treated in visual imagery, dialogues that remain etched in the heart and characters that you identify with. What I like with Sundari is that she takes you completely by surprise with the endearing hero, Dada-ji who swears by the apple of his eyes, Sunita. Of course, the Kahani mein twist with the bullets doing the rounds minus the nameless ‘Raja.’ Don’t look too far, Bullet Raja, I mean, the Saif Ali Khan forgettable movie. Sundari depiction of Sunita’s father Rishi as the villain-cum-patriarch is still a reality entrenched in so many Indians and Asian families. Dictatorial! But, how true in an age where kids, in particular girls, are well-educated and are mentally sane to choose a partner.
Sundari’s choice of the theme of love is very contemporary. First it’s hate for Sunita before she goes weak in the knee in front of the super suave, Akshay, who takes upon himself to woo his lady love. The emotional and romance brewing between Akshay and Sunita remains the forte of the novel which captures the readers’ attention. You are in for a surprise as Sundari introduces twists and turns in this ‘romance’ dish to make it spicy till the climax. If ‘MEGHNA’ was light and breezy, ‘THE MALHOTRA BRIDE’ moves a notch higher to make it a super entertaining read. It sustains your interest with back-to-back situations taking you by storm the moment you feel it’s gonna be a happy ending. Of course, it has a happy ending and ‘THE MALHOTRA BRIDE’ leaves you with the old-age feeling, Value for not just money but emotions. Moreover, the characterization and bond between the different characters, Sunita and Akshay, Sunita/Akshay with Grandpa Ratan as well as the bride with her in-laws, the Malhotras, is endearing. In short: Engrossing, gripping and high voltage drama meets love.
- Yeah, you might accuse the author of being too ‘Bollywoodish’ or mushy or desi Mills and Boons type. But, who isn’t, these days? The biggest culprit is the one sitting reading and reviewing, ‘The Malhotra Bride.’
- I feel that one factor that somewhat works against the book is the old tried-and-tested formula of going into overt details in the world of costumes worn by the groom and bride as well as their families during the Hindu marriage ceremony. The marriage ceremony gets a bit too descriptive, like the sugary Karan Johar movies. But, then, it’s the author’s creative call.
- Sunita is today’s girl and she, being uncomfortable kissing is cliché to a certain extent in the book. Gone are the times when two flowers would melt during our pot boilers of 70s and 80s. A bit hard to swallow.
“You remind me so much of your Dadi. You look exactly like she did when she first fell in love with me….But, Dada-ji, I am not in love,’protested Sunita. ‘Says who?’, he challenged.”
“Then, you’ve not understood the meaning of love, my dear child.”
“You are an innocent baby and have never been kissed before….I only hope I haven’t put you off kissing..Only my heart beat so hard: I thought I might suffocate..
Arranged marriages is a topic that has been repeated zillion times in an almost cliché and run-of-the-mill fashion. But, ‘The Malhotra Bride’ is a tale of arranged marriage with a difference. Sundari Venkatraman has lent her gentle touch, almost lyrical at times and treated the topic in subtle manner, alternating between restricting parents, ever-changing complexity of life and romance. ‘The Malhotra Bride’ is the perfect read, providing the right dose of emotions, love and romance. I couldn’t put this one down. Go and grab it.