[Review]~Sethji, by Shobhaa De’…

27 Nov

He was poor. He was a self-made man. He was shrewd and ruthless. He considered himself the modern-day Chanakya. He was Sethji.

She was ‘a woman’. She was married into a political family. She had no choice. Her body was her deadliest weapon. Her name was Amrita.

Shobhaa De, the author of “Sethji” weaves a tale around a political setup. As a reader, you can almost guess who she is pointing/referring at, if you are aware of our biggest reality show called ‘The Indian Politics’.
The author is well aware of the fact that in India (and outside too), Sex and Erotica sells, and she has made sure to add this masala in almost every chapter of the book. 55-56 chapters, so you can imagine how much!!

At some places, the masala seemed so invalid like how Bollywood adds songs in between two serious scenes of a movie. Something like:
Scene1: Heroine’s father/mother is serious and is struggling for life in an ICU.
Dream Song: The heroine is running wildly around the trees, not praying for her father’s/mother’s health but mockingly escaping from being groped by the hero.
Scene2: The hero is on his way to the hospital and meets with an accident as he was busy dreaming the song sequence while driving!

Point is: At some of the places in the plot, the masala write-up just wasn’t needed. Amrita has not just been exploited, but over-expoited, time and again!

The novel as such is a political drama, the storyline of which I will not divulge for the sake of those who would like to read ’Sethji’. All I can say is that, there is – pain, confusion, betrayal, assassination, infidelity, incest and too much of life ka drama.
The book is a good read, if you like – Indian Politics, Metaphorical Characterization (you will keep guessing as to which political/bollywood bigwig the author is talking about, throughout the length & breadth of the book!), the Masala (to an extent, who doesn’t?!) and Shobhaa De’s free flow (straight-talk) writing style.

IMHO – Shobhaa De’s much better & crisp when it comes to her shorter write ups (newspaper columns, blog posts, etc) than in her novels. A little more efforts in editing would have improved the end product (Found a few spelling typos myself!).

Note: If I’ve known Shobhaa De well, by reading her writings till now – I’d definitely NOT believe that the story of this novel to be entirely fictional, as she and Penguin (the publisher) puts it to be. 😉

Rating: 3.5/5

Image courtesy: Penguin Books India.


Posted by on November 27, 2012 in books, I~do~such~things, Reviews


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5 responses to “[Review]~Sethji, by Shobhaa De’…

  1. metherebel

    December 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I haven’t read any of Shoba De’s novels. May I should try her books now 🙂

    Good review Sree.

  2. Madhan

    December 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Ya I just finished this one.

    Not bad …. But as you said a lot of “STUFF” …. Just to see how the other books were … Picked up “Sultry days” … that also has a lot of “STUFF” but there are certain aspects of the book, a few characters who are kind of intriguing … So that way I can carry on with it … Will let you how I actually feel abt it once done …

  3. Sree

    December 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    @metherebel, this was my first too…other titles by her either seemed to be kitty party gossips or bedroom masalas! 😉 this one seemed interesting…so picked it up!! 🙂 Thanks!
    @maddy, hahaa…when did you start reading “sultry” stuff? 😉 marriage makes one want to learn the moves nah? 😉 lol…thanks da! 😀

  4. Uday

    January 13, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Picked this up thinking that the book would be about the political craftsmanship of Sethji. However Shobha De wastes her powerful vocabulary and art of story telling on a book, which is at best a mediocre creation – bordering on soft porn. You dont feel like keeping the book dowm thinking that there would be some turn in the tale, some plot that would lead to a very bold climax. however nothing like that happens. Shobhaji – We respect you as a great Indian Writer. It is time for you to come out of your polished class and start writing what your fans can enjoy.

    • Sree

      January 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      Agree with you Uday. Thanks 🙂


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