Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Sentimental Spy - Krishna Shastri Devulapalli

This one is Mel Brooks meets Quick Gun Murugan, with ten times more punch. Trust Krishna to come up with something as zany as this. I am wondering what the publisher is doing hiding this novella in a e-book format that is neither easy to access nor easy to read (one of the reasons why I delayed reading it for so long - and now having read it, regret the delay which I entirely blame the unfriendly format for). In a limited world of humour writers in India, Krishna once again, lays claim to being one of the best, one of the few who can make you burst out in sudden, loud laughter much like Wodehouse does (as against bringing on an amused smile at best like most humor writers at best aspire to). Publisher, print this book and get it out there on the book shelves - you will be doing yourself a favour. It's a riot.
Juggernaut, 300 p, Rs. 30
The Sentimental Spy is Sonti Srinivasulu, progeny of Sonti Parameshwarulu and Kantham, avid film watchers from West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. Parameshwarulu dies while heroically trying to wrangle tickets for their superstar's movie on the first day, first show, from the local landlord Pedda Rayudu who buys 70 tickets in bulk and leaves the Sonti family, particularly a heavily pregnant Kantham ticketless, livid. She urges Parameshwarulu to attack Pedda Rayudu and avenge their loss but he slips and falls. A huge cut out of the hero falls on him and he dies leaving a sexually-at-peak Kantham widowed. Kantham makes her first son SS, then a mere boy that he would 1) kill Pedda Rayudu and avenge his father's death and until then he would maintain his celibacy 2) get his crippled younger brother and blind younger sister married and only then think of marriage and 3) many such sentimental bonds.

Twenty years on, SS grows up under the burden of his vows, falls in love with the luscious Chandrabhanu, is forced to seek other paths by Chandrabhanu's scientist father and joins the Indian Secret Service (with an extra S for numerological reasons). Thus the sentimental spy, SS 555, a.k.a. Family Bond is born.

SS is given the job of rescuing the world from this new villain called Chairman who wants to constipate the world with his dastardly Crap-O-Nil program that could end the world. All he needs in return is not money but three awards - The Nobel, the Bharata Ratna and the Oscar. Else, the world will end. The Secret Service negotiates with a Padmashree which is refused with a laugh. To accompany him on his mission, SS hires Jignesh Prem Babu, as aspiring novelist for his resilient, self promoting and thick skinned ways and is also given the services of the super sexy Ms. Nair, a Bharatanatyam dancer, MBA and Pepsi manager, to assist him.

Unknown to him, Sonti Kantham, who is still in her sexual peak after losing her husband twenty years ago, contacts the local guru, who is also called Ad Man. As gurus go he has his style - he is inspired by commercial ads and quotes freely from them and distributes gyan from ads (like 'Go For It' for example). Ad Man has a roving eye and his eyes fall upon the blind sister of SS, Sunetra, the sexiest blind sister I have ever come across in fiction yet. She does nothing but oozes sex, and her pallu dropping ways, her heaving bosom, in her blind world, makes her all the more alluring to Ad Man (I can imagine Mel Brooks playing this role right away). He quits his other jobs and makes Sunetra his only job. The gullible Kantham falls for it and brings him home hoping he will cure her blind daughter and lame son. The family members and Ad Man attach themselves to SS, Jignesh and Nair in the minivan in which they go abroad (across the seas, after having consumed some barotas and making short work of a Malayali film crew whom they warn against making any further art films).

Sizzling scenes in bath tubs with the luscious Nair are interrupted by room service and then Kantham herself who reminds her son of his vow. Nair laughs it off and tells SS that while he is holding on to his virginity, his sister had long since lost hers and is now pregnant. To complicate matters SS runs into Chandrabhanu and falls into a flashback of how he could not convince her father that he could handle her as a shuttle cock champion. His use of the wrong words cuts his aspirations short.

Chairman has now captured her and is making her father work on the Crap-O-Nil project. Ad Man now wants to marry Sunetra and wants an SUV as dowry and has already hacked into SS's bank account to take an advance. The end comes to a sizzling close as Chairman is revealed to be none other than Pedda Rayudu. Will SS survive his diabolical plans and can he save the world and his entire family, Chandrabhanu and her father and his future brother-in-law the Ad Man?

Packed with hilarious content and fabulous characters 'The Sentimental Spy' is easily one of the funniest spoofs on Indian cinema and even world cinema I have ever read. It is timeless - as one can relate to characters right from James Bond to Virat Kohli, Katlina Kapoor, Chetan Bhagat (who writes a book while judging the dance-to-death competition between SS and Chairman), T.M. Krishna, Sidhu and a host of others who make their way in and out of the book. Krishna spares no one. 'The Sentimental Spy' is a racy read and ties in everything beautifully in the end leaving the field open for a sequel. I laughed out loud in many places. This is Krishna (not T.M.) at his best, writing about his pet peeves - publishing, Indian writers, films, NRIs. What I like about his humour is that it's no holds barred, intelligent and superbly timed and thought of (and its getting better with each book). When the punch comes, it hits you directly and unexpectedly in the solar plexus and - it's sweet. Brilliant Krishna, get the hard copy out and get it on the shelves. No point hiding such a wonderful piece of work in some obscure e-shelf. And soon! You're well on the way to super stardom in Indian humour writing at this rate.  

Priced at Rs. 30 on Juggernaut's site (which is still opening for the past ten minutes) it's a steal. Buy it and read it. You'll enjoy it (if you have a sense of humour). If you're likely to get self-righteous about blind sisters who enjoy their sex lives with lecherous fake gurus, don't. Here's the link. Happy reading.

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