Book Review: Banaras Talkies by Satya Vyas

Book Review Banaras Talkies: An alumni of Law School BHU, Satya Vyas’ book offers much, any Law Graduate, Hosteller would relate to.  Authentic Banaras or Benares on platter.

While I was reading Banaras Talkies in a canteen, a person in his late 50s, asked me: Is this book about Banaras? Assuming that the language of the book, which is Hindi, may be reason for his interested; I told him it’s not specifically about Banaras, although it has interesting details about the City, its famous places and its culture (Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb). To this he asked the obvious question: Then why Banaras Talkies? To this I said: Since the story is based in the city of Banaras — The famous Banaras Hindu University, Assi Ghat, the rivers Varuna and Assi, Manduadih (Red Light Area adjoining Railway Station), Sankat Mochan Mandir and UP’s perpetual fascination for Government jobs & Competitive Exams.I told the person, the book is interesting. He told me, it should be Varanasi and not Banaras. Why? As Varanasi is the right name, derived form the words Varuna and Assi. I conveyed my awareness about the fact; still he told me why the name Banaras came into existence. Before I could give him the answer, he gave his. Because people Banaras eat a lot of Pan, their mouths are often filled with a lot of juice (in Hindi Ras). That’s why Banaras (Banaras or ‘Bana Rahe Ras’). I thanked the person and continued with the book.

Banaras Talkies is a work of fiction in Hindi language, by Satya Vyas. He’s an alumni of Law School BHU and is currently a Logistics professional in a Navratna company (Public Sector Undertaking) in Calcutta (ok Kolkata). The book appears to be based on his years in BHU Law Hostel.The central figure of the story is Suraj and his three years in the all boys BHU Bhagwandas Hostel. The Story begins with him taking admission at BHU LLB Course. The story has half a dozen characters around who the story revolves at various places (stated above) and at various circumstances. The book has love story as Girls as well, and one involved with Suraj. It has hostel life, good-natured ragging or introduction session, a Conspiracy and the very mindset of an LLB Student. It has all nighters and various clever tactics hostlers resort to, to surpass the hurdles of semester exams and Assignments. The Story is an interesting mix of College Life and what goes slightly outside it. I use “Slightly outside” as the story never derails too much from the activities at the Bhagwandas Hostel and Lectures. Although I don’t fully agree with the how the conspiracy plot unfolds, I’m alright with it. After All, one doesn’t need to fully agree with what fiction presents. You can see the book as, Law Course Life equivalent of IITian Chetan Bhagat, who usually writes about future engineers and management professionals in hostels.

The book is very interesting. Although, full of expletives (bad words). But that can be excused, as there’s no hostel life without such enlightened words.

Opinion: The Book is very interesting. It will see an instant connect not only with Law students and Law professionals, who completed their law degree many years ago; it will also see instant thumbs up among those youth who are leading or had led hostel life. Chetan Bhagat may have simple easy to understand English as his USP, but still a book written in Hindi language is a treat.

Only drawback of the book is that, it’s about LLB students in a Hostel. This reduces the number of fans drastically. Why? The country offers engineering degree to 15 Lakh students each year. The Law graduates coming out annually are much less.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars