Saturday, July 12, 2014

Maharaja In Denims - Review

A tale of love, intrigue, and passion!
Chandigarh: a modern city with all the trappings of the uber-rich – snazzy SUVs, glitzy homes, and fast-paced, decadent lifestyles.
Hari and Suzanne: a young, lusty, college-going couple. While living the life of a normal teenager, Hari starts getting flashes of his past life – which tell him he’s an incarnation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the mighty founder of Sikh empire two hundred years ago. And when Suzanne attempts to decode Hari’s past life through regression, their lives change forever as many shocking past lives are discovered
Interwoven throughout the unfolding of Hari and Suzanne’s present day story are vignettes of Ranjit Singh’s life and loves, valour and conquests. When Suzanne helps Hari uncover the secrets of his past life, they stumble upon people and incidents that link the present day to the turbulent and disturbing history of Punjab.
The intense story moves to England and then to Mumbai, with an astonishing revelation at the end, which is set in the future yet has a deep historical resonance. A modern tale, Maharaja in Denims is moving, bold, and racy.

Author the Author
Khushwant Singh itinerant writer; columnist ('Punjabi by Nature' in the Hindustan Times); TV anchor; kinnow grower; husband to Harmala; father to Adiraj; connoisseur of the single malt – a life he wouldn't switch for anything.

With a title as interesting as ‘Maharaja in Denims’, you would be tempted to go for the novel. After all, isn't curiosity a major factor that affects a reader’s decision in picking up a book? The cover pic complements the title well, illustrating a jeans clad Maharaja holding a sword. Based on the backdrop of the life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who reincarnates in the form of Hari, a young college going teen, this book sure promises some adventures and urges the readers to opt for this historical  fiction that takes place in modern world.

Past life regression is what takes the story forward. Hari often sees glimpses of his previous births, which points to the belief that he was Maharaja Ranjit Singh in one of his past lives, the founder of the Sikh empire. Suzanne, his girl-friend, decides to help him by delving deeper into the mysteries of his previous births, and takes the aid of past life regression therapy. However, after each session, the mystery deepens, and flashes of several past lives come knocking into their present, affecting them in ways more than one.

Along with Hari and Suzanne’s love story, the life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh also unfolds, taking us on a tour of the country a couple of centuries back. Not only are his exploits and bravery documented, but his sexual adventures and lust too have been given prominence in this book. Somehow, the flirtatious nature of Hari and his desire to get up, close and personal with every girl he meets and finds attractive has been linked to this attribute of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Often, this hinders the flow and makes the plot drab at places, as the same sexual under currents keep appearing now and again, making it a tad bit monotonous.

The story is well researched and it shows in the snippets of information that the author has put through. The struggle and hardship faced by people, and specially the Sikhs, in times past and present, often leaves a deep impression on your mind. The state of Punjab itself has been portrayed as a major character in the story, and one navigates through the turmoil and disturbances that the city has often witnessed.

Hari is the protagonist in the piece. However, more than the characterization, the emphasis has been laid on the story and the plot development, which is a good thing. However, the author has tried to bring in too much of historical information in the book, which at times makes one feel as if they are coming straight from the school books. Perhaps, a bit of trimming would have made the story tighter and crisper.

Khushwant Singh attempts a genre that’s not easy to execute. Bringing history to light often needs a lot of reflection and visual imagery. The author does a pretty decent job in this front. However, I often felt that perhaps a better work could have been done with the book. As mentioned before, too much of sexual references and historical information stall the pace of the narrative, and better handling of these matters would have resulted in a tighter script.

Nevertheless, for all lovers of historical fiction, this book will serve its purpose in keeping them engaged. If you fall into this category, then you can surely pick up a copy and have a go.

Title: Maharaja in Denims
Authors: Khushwant Singh
Publisher: Amaryllis
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Binding: Paperback
Genre: Fiction, Literature, Historical
No. of Pages: 184
Price: Rs 250
My Rating: 3/5

This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to


  1. This doesn't lure me enough to pick this book up. Thank you for this review.

    BTW, this is for you:

    1. You can try the book though :-) And thanks so much for the award :-)

  2. Hi

    Nice review. Will pick check this up :)

    1. Sure Ankita :-) Let me know what you felt about it.

  3. A well written review indeed. Hope all is well with you these days Amrit. :-)

    1. I am fine Carrie. How are you doing? :-)

  4. Well written review presenting the perfect amount of info so a reader can decide whether to give the title a whirl or not. ♥

  5. This review and title, both create curiosity in one to pick this for reading. Nice.

  6. honest review....def an author has to balance historical...and keep the reader entranced...too much of either and you will lose some...interesting as well to read two different reviews in the last 24 hours on this book...

  7. Tada! Our thoughts on the book match...
    Nice review :)

    1. Yes ... I read your review too :-)