Friday, May 24, 2013

Book Review: Chanakya’s Chant by Ashwin Sanghi

Book: Chanakya's Chant

Author: Ashwin Sanghi

No. of Pages: 441

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Westland

After 2 disappointments from Ashwin Sanghi and an assurance from a good friend Abhishek Khetan – that this one will not be that bad – I picked up the only remaining novel of Ashwin Sanghi. To my surprise, Ashwin has actually done a good job at it. Wonder what happened to him while writing The Rozabal Line (TRL) and The Krishna Key (TKK). All through Chanakya's Chant (CC), I was imagining it as a movie (very much on the lines of the Bollyood movie - Rajneeti) with a similar star cast and look-n-feel.

CC is a 2-in-1 novel with 2 separate storylines in two different ages. One story is that of Chanakya from 2300 year ago while the other is that of Gangasagar who belongs to the present times of the 21st century. Both stories are well written and well executed with enough twists-n-turns with interesting surprises written into the plot. The old as the new story intrigues you and compels you to re-think politics. Chanakya was a ruthless politician and a Kingmaker … Gangasagar is just the same.
Both stories are related in the sense that there are a lot of parallels between the two tracks. You are indeed reading 2 stories at the same time, simultaneously. It reminded me of Matthew Reilly's "Temple" where he has 2 storylines running in parallel in different ages.
The story is well written except for the numerous one-liners that Gangasagar and Chanakya keep using throughout the book. It somehow lessened the appeal of the characters (for me). Especially since I knew that most of these one liners have been said by others and some of them assigned to Chanakya may not even have existed in those times 2300 years ago.
If the novel is indeed converted into a movie or a TV serial, the one-liners will definitely be enjoyable and will be a major draw for the program. Personally, I wouldn't want the movie to focus on the Chanakya story - just the present story of Gangasagar would be cool.

Definitely an interesting read. I would recommend. Finally an Ashwin Sanghi novel that I liked

FYI - The copy of the book was ordered online more than a year ago and not obtained from any agency for book review. It had remained forever on my to-read list but just did not get picked up. After reading TKK, i decided to read TRL and almsot gave up on CC ...


  1. I actually liked this book ( Chanakya chant ) better than the recent one Krishna Key ( ).

  2. This is the best book by Ashwin, compared to the all three books. Nice way of narration, together with Mahabharata story in line. I like the way Ashwin gave us his imagination about the Krishna. The facts in the books looks quite real. At last a nice book for the people who want to know about Krishna.

  3. @Roshan - completely agree. Chanakya's chant is really a good one while i did not quite like the other two.

    @Mirza Ghalib - My review is for Chanakya's Chant while your comment is about Krishna Key - a book that I did not like. If someone wants to read Krishna's story - they should read that and not Krishna Key.

    I have reviewed KK also ... ... and i feel that the parallel Krishna story could have been avoided simply because it did not show any connection to the main story of the book unlike Chanakya's Chant where you can draw interesting parallels between the two stories.