Surender Mohan Pathak The 65 Lakh Heist

ISBN 13: 9788190605656

The 65 Lakh Heist

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9788190605656: The 65 Lakh Heist

Fiction. South Asia Studies. Translated from the Hindi by Sudarshan Purohit. Vimal never wanted to get involved in the heist. Now that he's been roped in, he just hopes he can finish the job without getting caught. His partners have other plans, however, and soon Vimal finds himself playing a deadly game with the kingpin of the Punjab underworld.... First published in 1977 and reprinted over fifteen times, THE 65 LAKH HEIST is the fourth book in Surender Mohan Pathak's hugely popular `Vimal' series, the book that launched a whole genre of anti-hero Hindi crime fiction.

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About the Author:

Surender Mohan Pathak, born in Amritsar, Punjab, in 1940, is the leading author of Hindi-language crime fiction, with nearly 300 novels to his credit. His writing career began in the early 1960s with his brilliant Hindi translations of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, the works of James Hadley Chase, and Mario Puzo's The Godfather. His original novels have sold over 25 million copies in Hindi, making him one of India's all-time best-selling authors.

Review:

At one point in Surender Mohan Pathak's The 65 Lakh Heist, the pleasure-loving Labh Singh (a.k.a. Matar Paneer), one of the conspirators involved in the heist, is so happy when the planning is completed and it is time for the revelry to begin that he lets out a cry of Balle! This homegrown sound has long been missing from the streets of Indian fiction in English (think of how many "hurrays" and "bravos" one hears instead). It is precisely this taste of the local, together with the adroit fulfilment of genre expectations, that make us say Balle! to this classic crime novel by a colossus of Hindi pulp fiction, deftly translated by Sudarshan Purohit, a young software engineer based in Bangalore. The 65 Lakh Heist was published in 1977 as Painsath Lakh Ki Dakaiti, and it was the fourth book in Pathak's hugely popular Vimal series, selling an estimated three lakh copies. Now, in its English version, it is the second pulp-fiction title offered by Blaft, after their widely acclaimed Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction published last year. Of course, in its new incarnation, the book is no longer real pulp printed on the cheapest paper, sold for a pittance but a kind of canonised and reified pulp, beautifully produced and, at Rs.195, priced the same as an average paperback. The question to be asked then, perhaps, is the question that must have been asked by the novel's first, most demanding readers: is it still value for money? I should say it is. I read the book in three hours while waiting for a 3am flight, and it certainly helped those dreaded hours melt away. The tension kicks in from the very first sentence (Mayaram lit a new cigarette and looked at his watch ), and we are up and running. Mayaram Bawa of Amritsar, an accomplished cracker of safes (for which reason he has earned the moniker Ustad ) and a chronic jailbird, wants to pull off one last heist before he calls it a day. He intends to enlist the best talent in the business to make sure the operation is a success, and when he spots the wanted criminal Surender Singh Sohal, better known as Vimal, in a gurudwara, he knows that luck is on his side. Vimal has been on the run from the police for long, and unless he helps Mayaram now, his secret will be out. Pathak, who has also translated some of James Hadley Chase into Hindi, turns out four books a year to this day. His qualities are those of the best pulp-fiction writers: a love of danger and double-crosses, guns and molls, in terms of material, and narrative speed in terms of form. He also writes very good, economical dialogue. His translator serves him well by scrupulously preserving the idiomatic core of the material (such as the line, They chanted Bolo Ram for him a year ago, or the phrases Jaago Mohan Pyaare, Papaji, and Aaho) while transferring the rest into a smooth, unshowy English. Vimal has a particularly intriguing backstory we learn that he is so bitter because his wife Surjeet Kaur and her lover had conspired to get him jailed for embezzlement . If the The 65 Lakh Heist has a failing, it is that character development more or less comes to a stop after the first half, and the rest is all action, concluding with a shootout in a garage. But one could say these are the problems endemic to the pulp-fiction form, in which a character's progress often culminates not in a change of heart or a renewal of perspective but with the sound of a gunshot. On all other counts, there is much to admire in this book, and I put it down looking forward to reading more of the team of Pathak and Purohit in the years to come or perhaps months. --Chandrahas Choudhary, Mint Magazine

Promises all the thrills, chills, and kills of the original whodunit. --Neelam Raaj, Times News Network&

Word to Raymond Chandler: Watch your back. --Mark Scheffler, Global Post

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Surender Mohan Pathak
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