Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Review: Byculla to Bangkok by S. Hussain Zaidi

Mumbai mafia and it's stories are famous and many of them have been narrated as bed time stories or being passed on from one generation to the other. But not many of them are accurate and true. Most of it based on speculation. Author S Hussain Zaidi in his latest book "Byculla to Bangkok" takes you back in time and lets you relive the time which one can never forget or can be ever erased from history. So is this story worth spending time with?  Let's find out. 

Chota Rajan, Arun Gawli, Ashwin Naik. What is it that made men leading seemingly mundane lives turn into the terrors of the Mumbai Underworld? Organized crime has never had a greater grip anywhere else than in Mumbai towards the end of the twentieth century. This is a book about the unassuming beginnings to what became the crime syndicate.

First look at the title and the cover and the readers can let their imaginations run amok with the imposing and the most ruthless men of all times and their limitless power. The blurb has been kept very short and has been left the readers to discover about the mafia and the unheard stories of 80's and 90's. 

The story starts off from Dagadi Chawl and the rise of Arun Gawli and his empire. His ruthlessness and the various gangs operating in nearby areas and the greed to reach on top and usurp the throne helps him make lesser friends and more enemies. Gradually the war spreads to other areas and see the rise of Chota Rajan, the Naik Gang, Dawood and his D-company and Chota Shakeel and the others. So who will rule Mumbai and who will fill terror and run the mafia raj in Mumbai? Is there a twist in the tale? What role Mumbai Police will play among this mayhem? Will there be an end to this blood and gore? That's what the story is all about. 

The original and accurate account of what happened in Mumbai in 80's and 90's is a story worth reading and listening again and again. The gang wars, the men involved and the larger syndicate of crime and the helpless citizens and law and order in shambles leaves a little to imagination as what would have happened at that time. The vivid description, the inside stories, the first hand narration and the real account of the stories only heard and never proven is a spine chilling experience. The book has a tremendous flow and charged up narration and leaves up to the expectations. From the minutest information to the largest of the pictures everything has been painted and presented with command and flair. 

The downside of the book is pretty predictable end and second half which most of it has been heard or read of. 

All in all the book is an experience of it's kind. Not many have lived to tell the tale of those times but what is there in the book is enough for the readers to let their imaginations do a juggle between the war lords and Mumbai streets. The story is nearly perfect and readers won't get bored at all. It's a story of a lifetime and a daring representation of mafia and it's raj in Mumbai. A book not to be missed or ignored.   


4 OUT OF 5

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