The biggest power in the world does not lie in the deadliest of weapons; rather, it lies beyond, within the mind that controls them. And what can truly control and master such a mind but love? Shantanu: A Thrilling Mumbai Underworld Hitman—Rakhta Charitra, Book 1 by Devansh Kamdar is a thrilling tale of crime and emotions and should join your reading lists today.
Love can move mountains. And to put that cliché in a much better manner, it can change the minds of those who inhabit them too.
I was on the lookout for something in the manner of a different sort of read for some time. It is a thriller, but not exactly a strict crime noir.
Shantanu: A Thrilling Mumbai Underworld Hitman—Rakhta Charitra, Book 1 by Devansh Kamdar was a book that made me mull over life and its somewhat unusual idiosyncrasies in a different light. The tale, albeit revolving around Shantanu, a hard-nut hitman and Kshitijbhai, a major underworld Don, had so many different layers to it that it was evident right from the time the narrative commenced that Devansh wanted to bring out much more than a grave picture of the underworld through this one.
For starters, this one surely reminded me of the dark underside of the infamous crime scene of the Mumbai underworld, especially back in the 1990s, when the smallest scuffles often led to major breakouts in the form of gang wars. A dark and intense journey exploring the grim by-lanes of crime, this picks pace when Shantanu, who happens to be the main hitman of Kshitijbhai, is assigned a target by him, which is life-changing. The target is Kshitijbhai’s love interest, Mahek. As the emotionless, hardhearted Shantanu proceeds further along the path, what transpires is something he was unprepared for, bringing him a new lease on life and changing his perspective on everything. Until now, considering everything set upon him by Kshitijbhai as an assignment and all human beings simply “targets,” when he meets Mahek, things change. Whether he transforms into somebody more humane upon discovering the real truth behind her actions or whether he remains impassive, simply carrying about his barbaric actions regardless of anyone’s emotions, whether Kshitijbhai can realize his wrongdoings and turn back, or whether he simply goes down the labyrinthine path of crime, you gotta pick up the book to find it out.
I guess the biggest voice one cannot leave unheard is the nagging one of one’s own soul. When one’s perspective changes owing to some event, the paradigm shift is what makes or breaks one. Such a scenario can either be a win-win or a complete catastrophe.
In this scenario, although Shantanu tries to follow Kshitijbhai’s instructions and go about his task, ”executing” his actions dutifully without musing, it was engaging to read how Shantanu’s choices change and how he transforms into someone more compassionate. I guess that is the power of the inner calling, isn’t it?
See, the point here is that Shantanu surely was not that gruesome, bad-blooded character. And yet, I loved the way Devansh brought out the nuances of his personality, swinging it from brutal to compassionate, considerate, and almost righteous at the other end. That is why I initially mentioned that this is not your usual crime thriller novel but rather a more humane, compassionate take on the multiple shades of us humans. How we react and what we choose in the face of crisis as well as catastrophe, in the battle of the heart and the mind, how we decide how to proceed, and most importantly, how truthful we are to our souls, is what forms the crux of this brilliant and fast-paced tale.
The action in the book was also something that felt fun to be reading and delving into, feeling straight out of a crime thriller movie of the 90’s. You know, I always felt those were the best kind of thrillers, with so much juicy action and adrenaline-pumping plots that it was hard not to be smitten or enticed even by the villains at that time.
The way Devansh describes the scenarios, especially the city, and how the various events unfold, each adding its own dangers and drama to the whole context, were nail-biting.
The way something moved and changed within Shantanu for Mahek, too, was something very well built and brought about by Devansh, I felt. Although they hardly met a couple of times, I could trace the whole 360-degree change that came about in Shantanu’s persona after he came in contact with her. It goes to show that love is the biggest game changer of all in life, isn’t it?
A well-written crime thriller, surely keeping my eyes peeled for the next in the series, with a great build-up in this one alongside brilliant writing by Devansh.
So I hope you guys liked my book review of Shantanu: A Thrilling Mumbai Underworld Hitman—Rakhta Charitra, Book 1 by Devansh Kamdar.
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