Book Review: THE RUNAWAY BRIDEGROOM
Author: Sundari Venkatraman
Banner: Flaming Sun
Rating: Four and a half stars
“I dedicate this book to all those children in India who are victims of child marriage. I sincerely hope that their lives are sorted out as well as Chandra and Veerandra’s.”
A groom and a bride make the perfect candy-floss love story, isn’t it? Trust Chetan Bhagat to take the syndrome of calf love to an octane level in the world of mushy-mushy romance or Yash Chopra’s colorful swan song(s) in the swiss alps!!! Ah! It reminds me that DDLJ celebrated 1000 weeks. Sundari Venkatraman re-defines DDLJ in her own wacky style, the moment she touches the sensitive topic of child marriage, a real tragedy in a part of the globe that afflicts heart and lives. Not a dull moment in this elegant love story of boy meeting girl who are united by destiny.
The RUNAWAY BRIDEGROOM is a story of child marriage, boy-meet-girl, a vamp hell bent to possess the suave-cum-rich tycoon to make a killing a la wall street. The author sends a strong message: If love is destined to happen, it will. Mushy?! Not really. Sundari Venkatraman touches a sensitive topic of child marriage through a very powerful voice without delivering a sermon. Perhaps, the lesson is enshrined in this beautiful love story which she concocts through the eyes of her main characters, the silent suffering, tongue-in-cheek dialogues, intimacy and the nuances-cum-complexity the characters undergo.
Final Verdict: RUNAWAY BRIDEGROOM is light, fast-paced novel coupled with crisp narrative where no dull moments seep in. Sundari Venkatraman’s intelligently avoids the pitfall of getting dragged unnecessarily towards the tragedy of child remarriage which is the backdrop of the story. After reading a couple of rom-com weaved by Sundari Venkatraman, I can honestly say that The Runaway Bridegroom is one of her best works so far, if not the best. A literary potboiler, this one has suspense, romance, tragedy and an absolutely delicious climax, sketched by the author.
Chanda Maheshwari’s family is shaken when her thirteen-year-old bridegroom Veerendra runs away immediately after the wedding. The eight-year-old child doesn’t even understand the impact on her life. Unable to face their neighbours and friends, the Maheshwaris move from their village to Jaipur and begin a new life in the city.
Fourteen years later, Chanda is studying in a Delhi College. She takes up a temporary job at RS Software Pvt. Ltd. and falls head-over-heels for the boss of the operation. But what about Ranveer Singh? Is he interested in her?
–credit: Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23153200-the-runaway-bridegroom)
The best thing about Sundari Venkatrman, not once, she adopts the preachy tone in a novel set against the backdrop of child marriage. It’s a delicate subject which she handles with competence since there is a thin line between being a moral guardian and conveying a message without going all gung-ho about it. Many authors would do well to learn this clear-cut approach from Sundari Venkatraman. Full marks to her. The book has emotions, love, drama and suspense skillfully weaved together. The author holds her readers’ rapt attention, sketching well-defined characters. She introduces novelty with the astrologer playing an important part, a money-obsessed vamp whom you would love to hate and a detective. Shikha as the vamp is a character many authors have forgotten in novels nowadays but, who,nonetheless play the spoilsport, in the narrative part. The climax is heart-pounding, similar to the good ole’ tale of romance in Hindi movies, adding a twist to the tale. THE RUNAWAY BRIDEGROOM is a winner, with the right mix of emotions that makes it a riveting tale.
Quotable Quotes/Epic Lines:
1. “They ( Shikha and Abhimanyu) were the perfect yin and yang-he was cool and collected while she was brash and loud. While left would not be easy, it would never be boring.”
Yin and yang is my favorite expression-I find it sensual, piping red hot and sexy.
2. “On that cheery note, Ranveer hummed along with the blaring with the blaring music on his car radio as his car ate up the miles greedily.”
Now, you know why it reminds me of the joy of old Hindi movies….Mere Sapno ki Rani Kab aayegi tu a la Rajesh Khanna. Watch Aradhna and this song for your aesthetic and heart’s pleasure.
3. Chanda pressed her soft lips to Ranveer’s rough cheeks as she bent towards him as he lay on bed. She simply love the tingly sensation on her sensitive mouth as she kissed the man she had fallen in love with…And when and why you were you thinking of my lips?” asked Ranveer, a teasing smile on the said lips…Chanda raised her arms to put them around his neck and pulled his head down as she whispered in his ear, “I’m glad you don’t think as I think of them all my waking hours.”
The RUNAWAY BRIDEGROOM belongs to this genre of novel where you find it a tough call to pull the chain in the train of romantic adventure to hop out. You just wanna travel with the characters sketched by Sundari Venkatraman. Ok, let me play the devil a bit:
1. I feel that the detective’s character (Samrat) was not really needed in the novel since it’s a miss-and-blink character. But, then, it provided the string towards the climax and it’s the author’s creative call.
2. Shikha, the vamp, keep popping up and bursting the bubble every now and then. No doubt, she is the third most important character in the book but, at the end, I am a bit confused whether I should hate her for being a ‘wannabe-cum-compulsive liar’ or empathize with her for a change of heart. For sure, she is a man-hater who exploited her but why catching the gold fish?!
Sundari Venkatraman is forever young at heart, crazy and I envy her for having such a wild soul and imagination. I admire the way she effortlessly weave intimate and ‘sex’ acts in books, something many authors fail to do. There is a thin dividing line between aesthetics and vulgarity. This is what makes Sundari’s novels sure shot winners. The climax is one of the best I’ve read so far with epic lines (see quotable quotes) with emotional home coming and a love story reminding us about our beautiful movies made during the golden days. A perfect ingredient to make a chatpatti masala. If you haven’t read the book, what you waiting for? Go and grab it since it cannot be missed by offering lame reasons. A perfect gift to your love and dear ones this festive season.
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