So, which is the best novel by this well-established novelist Chetan Bhagat that you can recommend to other readers? I have been asked this question many a time in my career as a book blogger and I have tried all the times to escape because, being honest, I think Chetan’s novel never approached me this way that I could recommend those to any reader. However, frequent questions by many readers compelled me to revisit the works by this famous novelist, very popular one among very few truly famous Indian authors. And I have concluded that his novel, published in 2004, Five Point Someone, is the work that I liked the most and would recommend that to my reader friends rather conveniently. I really don’t think that any other work by this author could match the potential, craft and purpose of his 2004 novel – a magnum opus in terms of storyline and overall impact.
Five Point Someone, also subtitled things not to do at IIT, became very famous and it proved to be an important stepping stone for the novelist in his career that scaled vertically after that year. Chetan Bhagat, surprisingly, only went above and high in terms of his popularity and fame but his works could not continue the same momentum. His works only deteriorated in terms of choice of themes and the plots. He could not match the height that he attained in Five Point Someone in any other novel by him, till the date. And let me put it as bluntly as I can.
There are many other novelists in India who rose with their publications through the years but none of them could even reach closer to Chetan Bhagat in terms of his sells and his fan-following. However, many top book bloggers in India would agree to my opinions, Chetan Bhagat’s book could not remain favourites among the leaders in Indian reading communities and also among the book critics. There may be many reasons for this fall if we sit to analyse and conjecture but one very certain thing, if I may have to point out, is that he has trapped his fiction in the circle of youthful relationships and he could not break this Chakravyuh in his entire career, after the publication of Five Point Someone. Why did he choose to do so? The very simple answer to this question may be that he decided to reach a younger audience with youthful ambitions and also their favourite topic – love and sex.
A leading Indian book critic, Alok Mishra, pointed out in one of his articles on modern Indian fiction (novels):
“While Indianness may be concluded [for Chetan Bhagat] in terms of increasing desire for having a partner of the opposite sex, he truly enters into the psyche of Indian youth with his writings that reflect almost a faded picture of Indian society which is young. Nevertheless, the picture that is faded is the very reality that he has to show. Can you blame him? Yes, you can. Should you blame him? No; you shouldn’t!”
I would like to conclude only with the point that you can read Chetan’s work Five Point Someone if you want to read anything by him that is sensible and original and also interesting. Otherwise, you can find one of the three in many of his novels at the cost of the other two.