Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Aakhet - MustRead Thriller of Gujarati Literature

When I have written review of Aakhet-1, I didn't know that I was making big mistake of dividing review of story. Aakhet should be seen as single story, divided into three parts just because of its content length and commercial limitation. Written in three parts with more than 1450 pages, Aakhet is like an epitome of Gujarati thriller stories. I haven't read more interesting story than Aakhet even in English. I am again stating this book should be translated into other languages to spread its amazing story to other parts of world.

Author, Ashwini Bhatt had portrayed a wonderful tale of Vasant Gaonkar, main protagonist of the story. Three different phases of Gaonkar's life is described in each part. Apart from Gaonkar, major characters are his daughter Urja, Urja's lover Shemal Paswan, Shemal's maternal uncle Gulshan Rai, Jagjitsingh Hara a freedom fighter, Hemant Oak, Malti Krishnan to name a few. Each character has it's own role in overall story. Apart from major characters, each part has it's own set of supporting characters and antagonist as well.

The first part described darkest history of Vasant Gaonkar a.k.a. Shavant Shirke. Story started in late 1960 when Portuguese were about to leave Goa, Diu & Daman. Vasant Gaonkar and his friend had planned something dangerous. But things became complex when Gaonkar got a call from a blackmailer. Blackmailer claimed to know his dark history of being Shavant Shirke instead of Gaonkar. Even the cue of this fact brought Gaonkar into his long forgotten past. In past around 1930's where an orphan Gaonkar became a servant of a wealthy land lord. Author has nicely described how Gaonkar with his sheer luck survive in his plan to kill and loot his landlord. He ran from there and met Gulshan Rai, a police sub inspector. Gaonkar ran from police and met Jagjitsingh. Jagjit helped him to change his identity and sent him Saudi. Apart from his past, story went ahead in his current time (1960's) where Shemal in-spite of knowing facts about Gaonkar, fell in love for Urja. Urja had similar feelings for Shemal but they didn't expressed their feelings yet.

The second part is had two timelines. One in Saudi where Gaonkar started his empire with pearl hunting company and second where Urja and Shemal relationship started deepening. Second part narrates how Gaonkar had played role of pirate and looted ship to give financial support to Jagjit. After settling down as respected businessman in Saudi, Gaonkar by accident met Urja's mother. Story of how Gaonkar got her wife was also breathtaking. In India, Jagjit cover was exposed and he was forced to leave country. He later joined Azand Hind Fauj under Subhash Chandra Bose. Second timeline was again in current time (1960's) where Shemal & Urja expressed each others' feeling and emotion. Urja tried to convince Gaonkar to accept Shemal; on other hand Shemal asked Gulshan Rai to stop blackmailing Gaonkar and told him about his love. Things became interesting as Hemant Oak and Malti Krishnan, Gaonkar helper & secretary started solving blackmailing mystery.

The last part is written in 1960's time just before Diu's freedom from Portuguese. 2/3 rd of the story is written as climax, which makes it impossible to put down the book. Third part started with everyone's movement towards Una / Diu. One by one each major and minor characters end up in either Dui or Una. In this part, Gulshan Rai did damage control. He made sure that Gaonkar will accept Shemal as his son-in-law. Whole team fight against, Portuguese and put Portuguese in great uproar.

I took my own pace and completed trilogy in 4-5 months, with multiple parallel reads. But I am sure fan of Aakhet will call me idiot. There is not a single page in 1450+ pages which will make you put down book. All characters, locations & incidents were described in detailed. You can visualise it while reading it. Must read for every Gujarati. 

Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 3 / 5 (Though hardcover but looks boring)
  2. Concept - 5 / 5
  3. Content - 5 / 5
  4. Language - 5 / 5
  5. Story Line - 5 / 5
  6. Characters - 5 / 5
  7. Overall - 5 / 5
Book can be found at Amazon Part1, Part2, Part3
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads - Part1, Part2, Part3


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