Tamasha in Bandargaon – A Review
Life is a never ending experience. Trials and tribulations, ups and downs, joys and sorrows all script this wonderful saga of memories. Based in a fictional suburb of Bombay (named Bandargaon), Navneet Jagannathan’s first novel takes us through a journey of life – stories intertwined in spirit, insightful documentation of human nature and reminiscent of the Malgudi Days.
The story of Bandargaon has a bearing on every reader. Every character in this novel will remind us of someone whom we may have known in real life. Their emotional sojourns become enshrined in our psyche, their reactions to the challenges of life show us the light towards the end of the tunnel. Life has a habit of throwing apples and oranges. The residents of Bandargaon can daftly prepare juice with them and drink it with glee!
The characters of Bandargaon are as varied as we encounter in everyday lives. We come across Chagan, the bully, who falls for the demure Shalini. But Shalini’s overprotective mother is careful enough to protect her daughter from the “rogue”. Chagan has competition from his own manager Vinayak, who has hots for Shalini too. Straight out of the pages of a film script, nah?
Then there is the politician and “messiah of the downtrodden”, Sitaram Sajjanpur. Epitomizing the herd of Indian politicians, Sajjanpur wishes to be voted to power at any cost. So much so, he is even ready to throw his own family out of the house over misplacement of money by one of his relatives. We also cant help but empathise with Geeta who is too shy to take the plunge in her romantic pursuits.
Tamasha in Bandargaon is an honest attempt to portray the great Indian story. Despite clichés, Navneet does a befitting job of an artist who paints his subject with strict attention to details. The novel could be based in any city of India and still be as much relevant and true. Not just the characters, sometimes even some of the dialogues give you the feeling of close association with that person.
Despite being a first time novelist, Jagannathan brings out the human emotions with much ease. Like the man with the mirror in Delhi 6, the author shows what is wrong with the society in India, but does not get too preachy while doing so. The obvious shortcomings of a debut novel do exist in this work. The novel loses its pace and narration slackens midway. The idiosyncrasies of a typical Indian dwelling, the order in the chaos, the charm of a life in a suburb – these all make Tamasha in Bandargaon a delightful read.
Tamasha in Bandargaon is a film waiting to be adapted on screen. Its honest approach towards epitomising Indian life is its USP. Navneet Jagannathan seals his place among one of the promising writers i will look forward to for his future works. The book can be best enjoyed while travelling on a long distance journey, via the Indian Railways. The experience of living the novel through various faces we come across on trains is unmatched.
My Rating – 3/5