Indian Culture at it's finest

Title: 2 States

Author: Chetan Bhagat

Genre: Romance

No. of pages: 269

Rating: 2/5

Buy it here!

I am a big big Bollywood fan!

I love the drama and the action, the singing and the choreographed dance, I love it all.

In 2014, a film called 2 states was released in the cinemas. Now this film did have one of my favourite actresses, Alia Bhatt starring in a lead role so I was so excited to watch it.

I was not disappointed.

The film was a cute romance with some catchy dance tracks and brilliant acting by both Alia and her co-star Arjun Kapoor. Alia's character; Ananya, was a strong female who fought against the usual rules of male chauvinism and drove her career forward by standing her ground. I think that is one of the reasons why I loved the film so much, it is very rare to see a strong female lead in Indian cinema.

So when I found out that one of my favourite films is based on a book, I was very excited to read it and had very high hopes.

I guess maybe that was one of the reasons why I didn't enjoy it as much because I constantly compared it to the film and I expected too much.

First a quick overview of the story. Ananya and Krish are 2 students studying for their degrees at a very respectable university. The college is 90% testosterone filled so when our female lead first walks in, all the boys are tripping over themselves to get a first look of a 'female'. Anyway, Krish and Ananya become friends, fall in love and decide that once they have finished university they will get married. Unfortunately both are from different areas of India, Krish is Punjabi up in the north and Ananya is Tamilian from down south. Their customs and cultures are different and this proves a challenge for them when they want to get married and need their parents approval.  The rest of the story talks about all the problems and issues they face just to be together. It is a very sad truth especially in Indian Culture.

It wasn't until I bought this book that I realised that the story is based on the author and his wife. Undoubtedly the story is very cute, very romantic and props to them to sticking it out and fighting against silly ideas that people from different cultures can't marry and be happy together.

So like I said the base story is very cute and I like it. 

But that was the only bit I liked.

I had an issue with pretty much everything in this book; characters, writing, setting, absolutely everything.

Here are a couple of issues that really got to me and meant I didn't enjoy the book at all:

  • The book starts off very cliche with the whole let me tell you about my life and reminisce, it makes no sense and is definitely not a brilliant start.
  • Krish, one of our main characters is a typical Indian man. He has a huge ego and has very backwards thinking despite seeming to be educated and a 'modern'. So, for example there is a scene in the book where Ananya is wearing shorts and wants to go to eat some food. Kris refuses because he says everyone is looking at her and she can't go out dressed like that. Baring in mind, they were only friends. He threw a bit of tantrum and didn't go to eat with her because she was wearing shorts. How very forward thinking indeed!
  • On the other hand, Ananaya bends to Krish's will and just wants to keep him happy so when he goes over to study after the incident she is wearing a long sleeve top and long trousers all in black. This annoyed me because she should be a free thinking independent woman that doesn't need some guy who she's not been friends with for very long telling her what she can and cannot wear.
  • The writing is pretty basic. It's not complicated in any way, it is very simple but definitely not in a good way. I don't feel transported to where the story is set, I don't empathise with the characters and I don't understand the reasoning behind what a character is doing, all because the writing is so basic it doesn't manage to convey anything.
These are just a couple of my gripes. But honestly, its an average book I would rather watch the film than read the book again. Sorry Mr Bhagat, I think you should leave the writing to those who are more experienced.


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