Don’s Wife is the debut novel of Director-turned-Author Vinod Pande of Ek Baar Phir, Yeh Nazdeekiyan and Sins fame. The movies were far ahead of their time and stirred up many Hornets’ nests so I was expecting nothing less from the book. I wasn’t disappointed. This is a story of love as well as crime, revenge as well as retribution, a tale of hope and honor and tragedies.
Kamini belongs to a middle class family but falls in love with Harsh who is the son of a much feared and respected underworld don. When Kamini’s parents disagree to the match, she is won over by her father-in-law with his selfless love and cute antics. Their fate takes a disastrous turn when The Don is murdered and Harsh has to step in his shoes and flee the country, leaving behind Kamini with a newborn. Disillusioned by Harsh’s numerous affairs, Kamini starts on her chosen path of social service and politics and carves her own niche among the people. Loneliness gets the better of her though and she falls in love with her bodyguard – Jayant. Will she chose Harsh or Jayant? Will Harsh come to know of her affair? Who murdered her? Pick up the book to find answers to these questions, dear reader.
Great characters make a great book. Kamini is strong, affectionate, lively as well as levelheaded but she goes out stealthily in the night for a rendezvous with her lover. Harsh loves the scholarly life as much as he does the one of a don. Even though he loves Kamini, he still sleeps around. Jayant is loyal and rational, but falls in love with his benefactor’s wife. All the characters in this book have shades of grey as happens in real life too. The book unfolds just like a movie and has very strong visualizations in some places. This story is not high and dry; lots of emotions in this one. There are passionate lovemaking as well as action-packed crime scenes as there are scenes that force you to think.
Editing would have made this book great. Imagine while reading a thought provoking scene you suddenly come across Dr, ‘Jackyll’ and Mr. Hyde! Or when the bodyguard is introduced as an officer from the Indian Navy ‘SEALS’! I couldn’t help but guffaw. Poor editing certainly takes away from the pleasure of reading and I hope Mr. Pande will hire a good editor for the second edition of this book as well as for his next effort. After all, editing makes good writing great. Even though the start of the book is pacey and intriguing, it loses out somewhat towards the middle due to a lot of backstory ‘dump’.
I did enjoy the book and my best wishes with Mr. Pande for Don’s wife.