Book Review: The Edge of Power
Tuhin Sinha can be safely called the author who knows how to market his latest written offering. The Edge of Power consists of ingredients perfect for the Indian reader of today. It has the political angle representing present-day volatile situation where the frustrated common man wants change. It talks about the political games and the players who don’t think twice before using someone for their own benefit. You have a few genuine souls trying to bring in their own brand of politics which will work and talk for the public. You also have two most important players of the book who probably change things in more than one way – Shruti Ranjan, who plays a direct role in bringing on that change and the December 16th rape victim Nirbhaya who indirectly starts the necessary change. Those already fans of Sinha’s writing know Shruti Ranjan well from The Edge of Desire where Ranjan, a rape-victim herself, is pushed to greater political heights by her mentor Sharad Malviya. While reading this sequel, you feel as if reading the present political scenario in a fictional format.
Writer: Tuhin Sinha
Publisher: Hatchette Book
Price: Rs 275
Released: December 2013
The Edge of Power begins with a huge uproar against the brutal rape of Nirbhaya and the government’s apathy towards the scene. You are introduced to the lead. Ravi Nehra is the scheming, opportunistic, totally vile MP from Haryana who will go to any length to see himself in power. He is the ultimate figure for everything that is crooked in politics. He wants to reach heights through his Jan Hit party and indirectly backs the notorious incidences of corruption taking place in the ruling Indian Democratic Party (IDP) government and elsewhere too. There is his wife Rhea Malviya, daughter of the political biggie Sharad Malviya who was considered the epitome of how a politician should be. Rhea’s initial love for Ravi turns to ultimate hatred when his true colours come out. She tries to rebel in her own way. Ravi does not consider the Nirbhaya incident so greatly and has plans of his own for the coming elections. He, of course, is making sure that he is able to manipulate things around, courtesy with connections within his party and in other parties too.
Ravi and Indian politics is in for a surprise courtesy journalist Daivik Verma, for whom the present political scenario is heart-breaking. He ties hands with Indo-Austrian actress Catherine Khan to start a new party, Azad Bharat Party (ABP). Catherine, with a troubled past with her Indian father and an interesting connection with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, shares Daivik’s passion for bringing in the change India needs. Her marriage to Bollywood heartthrob Armaan Kapoor is broken, she has a young daughter to take care of and wants to resurrect her career. Together, they have the spirit and necessary idealism to chase their dream, but lack that one big name to catapult them to national politics and of course, lack of money. They try to convince Shruti Ranjan to join their cause. Shruti had retired from politics after a bad run in with Ravi and a humiliating defeat. The Nirbhaya acts as a reason for Shruti to join ABP. Things won’t be so easy, of course.
Ravi does not take this political twist kindly and tries every trick in his evil book to create trouble. ABP, on the other hand, take the hard-hitting sting operations path to expose the political devils out to cheat the Indian public. You also have secondary characters adding to the political drama. You meet Mukta Prajapathi, leader of IDP who knows where to put her money and power on. Devender Singh is the puppet prime minister, while a few shady characters prefer following Ravi, albeit with caution.
What works for The Edge of Power as a story is the fact that the pace matches that of a political thriller film. You get to understand the characters, but Tuhin has not dragged himself into getting the perfect background. Yes, there is a certain naive optimism which pervades throughout the book, but it does not bother you. As a reader, you tend to root for ABP and Shruti Ranjan. Many characters or situations remind of you of the present political situation. It acts as an added bonus to read the political drama in words with much delight. Tuhin’s narration and language is simple and balanced. The narration allows you stay with the present while allowing you to get a peek in the past. Even those new to Tuhin’s writings might not be totally at loss and will grasp things easily.
The Edge of Power is Tuhin Sinha’s well-crafted political novel which is compact yet the range of the story is astounding. The politcal drama makes the connection and you can visualise the episodes as they happen. Political drama does not get better than this.