Brunch Opinion: Hindi pulp page-turners

Surender Mohan Pathak

Zameer Ka Qaidi by Surender Mohan Pathak: In 2006, a man robbed a branch of UTI Bank, pretending to be a human bomb. When arrested, he said the plan was inspired by Pathak’s novel. “He obviously didn’t read the whole book,” says the author. “The would-be robber was caught in the book too.” Featuring Vimal, the anti-hero.

Bahu Maange Insaaf by Ved Prakash Sharma: Adapted for film in 1985 by Shashilal Nair with Naseeruddin Shah and Swaroop Sampat in the lead cast, it is the story of a woman tortured for dowry and finally killed. The in-laws try to pass it off as an accident. But another daughter-in-law seeks revenge saying she has been possessed by the ghost of badi bahu. Featuring Keshav Pandit, the insurance investigator.

Prime Minister Ka Murder by Amit Khan: The desi super sleuth rescues the Indian premier from the clutches of assassins hired by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence. Featuring Commander Karan Saxena, the patriotic superspy.

Shootout at the Rocks by Ibne Safi: Forensic expert by night, the investigator is a buffoon-philosopher by day who likes to quote Confucius, Ghalib and Mir. Featuring Imran, the head of the secret service. Translated from Urdu.

Aakhri Mohra Shatranj Ka by Reema Bharti: Narrated in the first person, it chronicles the adventures of a seductive Indian Secret Core agent as she goes hot-stepping on the trail of international arms dealers. Featuring ‘dilphenk hasina’ Reema Bharti.

Pretty cool, right? This week’s cover story is quite awesome too.

From HT Brunch, April 7
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