Today, in an all new session of THE READING ROOM, we are going to review “Ghalib Danger” by Neeraj Pandey
Kamran Khan is a cocky young taxi driver trying to make it big in Mumbai.But his life transforms when he saves a don called Mirza from beingkilled. What seems like a good deed however has a cruel payback andin a single moment, Kamran loses everything dear to him. This is whenMirza, in gratitude, takes Kamran under his wing and the young man getsdrawn into the mafia boss’s dangerous world of cops and rival gangsters,eventually taking over from him.Kamran also inherits Mirza’s philosophy that all of life’s problems can besolved through Ghalib¹s poetry.Soon, the innocent taxi driver has cops, criminals and even cabinetministers at his beck and call.And he has a new name—Ghalib Danger.
If you’re debuting in anything then I recommend you to learn from this author, Neeraj Pandey. He has this fine nick of having one of the greatest debuts, be it in debuting as a Film Director with the critically acclaimed movie ‘A Wednesday’ or now with his debut novel. Ghalib Danger is a roller coaster ride since the story line travels from present to past and then again to the present and the timeline of the story is from 1970s to present. The best part of this book is the way the story is linked with the greatest Mirza Ghalib’s couplets. These couplets are present mostly in every page of the book. There were some which I wasn’t really able to understand but I must say these couplets gave a very deep meaning to the characters and their tryst with their destinies and each verse resonates with a particular situation the protagonist is in at that moment. The narration by Neeraj Pandey is very tight yet profound. The protagonist, Kamran Khan, a.k.a. Ghalib Danger is very well described though my personal favourite character is, Mirza. The mannerisms, the way of thinking by him will sweep you off the feet. Though I was feeling certain kind of déjà vu when I was reading about Mirza because I felt his character was inspired by the character Sultan Mirza essayed by Ajay Devgn in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. The dialogues between the characters is a major plus point. The way the lead protagonist meets his lady love and the way the setting is described about how he is talking to himself about her is just so adorable and funny! The love story between Mirza and his girl which is shown in between the story is just so pure and heart touching. Certain Urdu and Arabic lines have been ably incorporated in the story. The best part about this book is that there are so many numbers of characters in the book and each one of them has been expressed in the best possible way. The best part is that you won’t even forget a single character’s name. The way the cycle of life of the characters has been described with some great suspense, drama, romance, the credits for this should be given to the author for such a profound portrayal. Though the story seems to be heard somewhere, seen somewhere type but the way it is presented is surely a never seen, never heard and yes, never approached type of story. The only thing I felt about this book in a negative, is the fact that these couplets needed a translation to be understood well to get that much needed essence to the story and understanding them is not a cup of tea for all because of the way the language is used otherwise the book is great book. And the ending when the protagonist rewinds his life and thinks about that one moment where he could have changed his life is just like an epic moment. I am very much excited to see this story turning into an adapted screenplay helmed by the master story-teller, Neeraj Pandey, himself.
Ending this review with my favourite couplet of Ghalib from this book
Hazaaron khwahishen aisi ke har khwahish pe dam nikleBohat niklay mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle
Daray kyon mera qaatil? kya rahega us ki gardan par?Voh khoon, jo chashm-e-tar se umr bhar yoon dam-ba-dam nikle
Hui is daur mein mansoob mujh se baada aashaamiPhir aaya voh zamaana, jo jahaan mein jaam-e-jaam nikle
Khuda ke waaste parda na kaabe se uthaa zaalimKaheen aisa na ho yaan bhi wahi kaafir sanam nikle
Hazaaron khwahishen aisi ke har khwahish pe dam nikleBohat niklay mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle…
Title: Ghalib Danger
Author: Neeraj Pandey
Publisher: Blue Salt (An Imprint of Penguin India)
So here we come to an end to today’s session of Reading Room