Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Review: Baaz by Anuja Chauhan

Published May 1st 2017 by HarperCollins

Goodreads Synopsis

Why do they call you Baaz? 
It means falcon, he replies solemnly. Or bird of prey. Because I swoop down on the enemy planes just like a Baaz would. 
Then he grins. The grey eyes sparkle.
It s also short for bastard. 

1971. The USSR-backed India-Mukti Bahini alliance is on the brink of war against the America-aided Pakistani forces. As the Cold War threatens to turn red hot, handsome, laughing Ishaan Faujdaar, a farm boy from Chakkahera, Haryana, is elated to be in the IAF, flying the Gnat, a tiny fighter plane nicknamed Sabre Slayer for the devastation it has wrecked in the ranks of Pakistan s F-86 Sabre Squadrons. 

Flanked by his buddies Raks, a MiG-21 Fighter, Maddy, a transport pilot who flies a Caribou, and fellow Gnatties Jana, Gana and Mana, Shaanu has nothing on his mind but glory and adventure until he encounters Tehmina Dadyseth, famed bathing beauty and sister of a dead fauji, who makes him question the very concept of nationalism and whose eyes fill with disillusioned scorn whenever people wax eloquent about patriotism and war... 

Pulsating with love, laughter and courage, Baaz is Anuja Chauhan's tribute to our men in uniform.

My Review

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

“Hai, Baaz Faujdaar is just so cute, yaar!’
‘You ought to see him in his flight overalls, then,’ says a ribald auntyji. ‘The way that G-suit locks around his waist and thighs but leaves all the vital bits uncovered … uff tabaahi!”

How aptly the salivating auntyji describes Ishaan 'Baaz' Faujdaar- tabaahi indeed! 

Anuja Chauhan is my favourite chick-lit author for a reason. None of the other authors I've read in the genre can create more deliciously sexy characters like she can. She manages to turn the most mundane stuff into something totally droolworthy. Her heroes aren't invincible six pack wielding gods who can do no wrong and her heroines aren't perfect little princesses who look resemble Aphrodite. What makes her characters so appealing is how real they are. She manages to make ordinary men in kurta pyjama from freakin' nowhere in bloody Haryana appear positively edible. Her heroines are flawed creatures who make bad decisions and then scramble about to correct them. But they are just sooo enchantingly real! She compels her readers to care for her characters, be it the protagonists or any of the side characters as well. They cry, you cry. They're happy, you're ecstatic. 

And the romance!! Oh god, the romance. It's ....there's no other word for it really... perfect! With just the right amount of flirtatious banter, sexual tension, drama and angst. The plot of course resembles a cheesy, masala bollywood flick through and through. It's almost a guilty pleasure- the fact that I adore it that much. 

Baaz is the story of Ishaan 'Baaz' Faujdaar, a 5'6 (yes, he's short) dashing, cocky, young fighter pilot from Chakkahera in Haryana. He's a total family guy, the laadla of his numerous little siblings, although he does have a skewed relationship with his foul tempered step father. His love for adventure and the rapid dhak-dhakking of his heart when he does something particularly adrenaline inducing is what prompts him to join the Indian Air Force. The female protagonist of the story, Tehmina 'Tinka' Dadyseth, nicknamed Tinka because of her tall lanky figure is an army brat herself. She is a pacifist and is staunchly against the concept of war and the warped concept of patriotism that brings about these wars. The fates of the two collide during the time the USSR-aided Indian-Mukti-Bahini alliance is on the brink of war with the America-aided Pakistani forces. 

The story was a whirlwind of debonair men in uniform (cue lustful sighs), hilarious situations, action packed fight sequences, toe curling romance, lots of drama and enough masala to put a steaming plate of Delhi's famous paav bhaaji to shame. The colourful menagerie of side characters like Tinka's fiesty aunt or Baaz's loudmouthed besties Raka and Maddy were downright adorable. 

Why then, did I knock 1.5 star off my rating, you ask? Giving away the reason would be impossible without giving out spoilers. Let's just say that the ending left a lot to be desired. It felt forced and unnecessary and was a total anticlimax. 

But apart from that little grievance, this little book made me smile from ear to ear, actually snort out loud in a few places and fall in love all over again. 

Highly recommended for all the chick-lit lovers out there!