I shouldn’t probably call this a review. Because it reeks of fan-boyishness. I’m between two other books right now: Arguably by Cristopher Hitchens and Business Maharajas by Gita Piramal. And the third book, which is My Days in the Underworld by Agni Sreedhar*, is what I have difficulty putting down.
This is one of the best narrative I’ve read about a city. Sreedhar chronicles Bangalore’s underworld (in the 70s & 80s) with an uncanny ability which only comes from someone who has been on the inside.
Agni Sreedhar was an underworld don, who became a journalist and a writer. The book starts with his days as a student in Bangalore. From silly brawls in the campus to bigger things, it leads him on to a life of crime. Soon he finds himself in the middle of a raging feud between two of Bangalore’s biggest dons– Kothwal Ramachandra and M P Jayaraj. Ramachandra is finally killed by his arch rival Jayaraj with the help of Shreedhar.
The books makes no bones about the politicians who shielded underworld dons, the degeneracy of it all and ultimately Sreedhar’s own disgust with the life of crime.
Sreedhar’s style is crisp and simple. And the narrative is gripping. If you are a Bangalore fan like me, you should pick up the book. There’s a movie based on the book, called Aa Dinagalu. It was critically acclaimed but to be honest, I don’t think it did justice to the book.
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