My Rating **
‘60 Minutes’ by Upendra Namburi has been advertised as a racy thriller where all the action unfolds in 60 minutes. Time-bound thrillers always excite me and, therefore, I became very happy when I got a chance to read and review this book. So, what is my impression of this book? While the blurb of the book is beautifully done and creates an excitement in the minds of readers, I should be sorry to spoil the effect created by the blurb. But it’s true. Though one might detect a slight touch of ‘fine writing’ on too well-worn a theme, I certainly got disappointed. It was not an adrenaline rush, not for me. There was absolutely no thrill.
As mentioned above, the story develops within the duration of sixty minutes. Basically, it is a high intensity corporate drama related to the launch of a detergent. There are three main characters (Agastya, Sailesh and Maithali) and the storyline revolves around the lives of these. Additionally, there are many flashbacks which author use to make sense of the high intensity drama happening in the span of sixty minutes. While the use of flashbacks may be useful in making the story interesting, too many flashbacks destroy the story. The flashbacks in this book turn away the attention of the readers from the main storyline and make this book unexciting. Moreover, a large number of scenes in the book don’t fit in the main storyline. These do not contribute anything and just seem to drag the story further. On top of that, these make reading irritating. One may ask, was there a real need to include such scenes or were these included to just increase the number of pages? Furthermore, the most disappointing part of the book was its ending. The whole story concentrated on the rivalry between Agastya and Sailesh and the last chapter shows them having a drink together and talking some nonsense stuff. Seriously? However, this may be just my point of view and the story may appeal to those who are in the sales and marketing profession.
The author is a sales and marketing professional by himself and it seems that he has moulded the raw-material of his life in the form of a book. His own experiences, his encounters with other corporate people, and the major events of corporate life he grew up with have all gone into this work. It must be noted however is that the self is taken over by and subsumed in the artistic endeavour and output. Detailed descriptions of corporate life make reading mind-numbing and could have been reduced. A racy thriller should keep readers interested and not to bore them with technical details.
One positive thing about this book is its cover page which certainly has an attention grabbing charm. However, this cover page can be taken as an example for the old saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. Upendra Namburi’s previous book ‘31’ has received rave reviews from the readers and has been touted as a best seller. However, I am now scared to read this ‘31’ after reading ’60 Minutes’.