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9 September, 2012
This is Sanghi's second novel I read, after his more recent 'The Krishna Key'. Frankly, I was disappointed. Average ratings suggested that Chanakya's Chant is better received than Krishna Key, and it was with that expectation and excitement that I purchased this. But, as I mentioned, this is disappointing.
The historical part depicting Chanakya is relatively grippier, but the modern day narrative is too contrived, naive and amateurish. The modern tale reads more like an ordinary Bollywood script with politics as a background and scheming, dirty, evil, corrupt characters for the various roles. More often than not the quotes, sentences and dialogues are a simplistic and literal translation of spoken Hindi into English, which leaves a lot to be desired. Add to that numerous, purportedly high wisdom one-liners to be found in almost every paragraph, all of which make Gangasagar (the modern 'Chanakya' in this novel) sound too unreal. However cunning and shrewd a person may be, I doubt they converse in such an unreal manner through quoting quotes every second breath.
Further, there are too many sub-plots and small incidents that keep getting narrated, making the plot very confusing and complex. As it is the reader has to keep track of two parallel times, and to add to that numerous complexities is unnecessary. Things could have been kept a lot simpler, and leaner, and the book therefore ought to have been about a 100-150 pages shorter.
While I like the overall idea and concept behind this novel, the treatment, narrative and the language are a big let down when judged in the context of the high expectations set for this novel from an author who clearly is vastly gifted and different from the ordinary.