As someone invested in literature, I have come across authors of various kinds. Sometimes, I liked the authors earlier perceived as unlikeable. At times, I just did not like a few I thought I might like… so as you can see, his journey has been an interesting one for me. Ravinder Singh, just like Chetan Bhagat, rose to the heights of fame with his splendidly successful commercial fiction built on the grounds of love – I too had a love story. Yes, many Indian novelists had their fair share of love stories and many miles their tales to garner money and fame. This is, I must say, a very good idea considering you can make something out of your personal feelings. Nevertheless, in this article, I might be breaking the hearts of many lovers of the works of Ravinder Singh.

Let’s begin with the ritualistic appreciation and introduction of the author. Ravinder Singh is a popular Indian author primarily known for his romantic novels. Naturally, his works have garnered significant popularity among readers. However, there are some notable limitations to his writing style and as someone who is very interested in contemporary Indian literature, I am keen to analyse the style and content of Ravinder Singh for the readers of The Best Books. One major criticism of Singh’s writing is its lack of depth and complexity. By complexity, I don’t mean perplexing ideas that don’t let the readers breathe. What I mean is the novels by Ravinder Singh often revolve around formulaic and predictable love stories, adhering to conventional tropes and stereotypes. This results in a lack of originality and intellectual stimulation, ultimately limiting the potential for nuanced exploration of themes and characters. Well, it might be too much to expect from someone who has written more than 5 novels well within his comfort zone of picking his characters to fall in love, fall out of love, fall back again, think about love, indulge in love, and get away from love… love, interestingly a vast subject to having initiated Trojan War, becomes too feeble and fragile like a sport played with one hand while indulging another (in masturbating one’s sarcastic senses)… ah! Did I say that?

After reading the first novel, I too had a love story, it might not be a complaint if someone says there is something called ‘prose style’ or the craft of the narrative in the work by Singh. However, after reading two or three more novels by Singh, if anyone comes up with the idea that prose style is this or that in his novels, I only need to laugh. It is nothing more than plain and simple storytelling, and that also in a tell-me-a-tale style. It is ridiculous! Utterly or even completely devoid of literary flair, the language used by Singh lacks the richness and lyricism that many readers and scholars seek in literary works. While I might be okay even with simple language, the story does need to rise above something we all agree to call base or common. Coming to the dialogue that characters exchange in his novels, they can be stilted and unconvincing, failing to capture the complexity of human interactions. Well, who might even expect that after reading the very first novel by this novelist? Count me out! This simplicity of language and narrative structure may appeal to a wide readership (consisting of teenagers and school kids) but does not contribute to the literary advancement or exploration of new stylistic territories. And for that, to garner readership from readers on this massive scale, I should congratulate the author without any bias!

Singh’s protagonists, when we try to discuss character development, often lack depth and dimensionality. They tend to be one-dimensional and overly idealised, conforming to traditional gender roles and lacking complexity in their motivations and actions. You may very well predict what might take place next. The jobs assigned to characters are very simple – fall in love, chat, think about your partner, meet, have sex, fight, fall out, come back, keep thinking, wait for instructions, and repeat. This sequence, if you can find it out, can result in a lack of emotional depth and empathy from readers, as the characters may feel superficial and less relatable.

Comparatively, when looking at other contemporary authors, such as Amitava Ghosh or Jeet Thayil, there is a stark contrast in terms of literary merit and originality. These authors employ innovative narrative techniques, delve into complex social and political issues, and push the boundaries of conventional storytelling. In the case of Jeet Thayil, especially, you can see how well the author has managed to convey many thoughts and emotions even out of a semi-autobiographical tale in Narcopolis! I just loved that! Collectively, Ghosh and Thayil, even Adiga and Roy for that matter, stimulate critical thinking and engage readers on multiple levels, offering a deeper exploration of the human condition and societal dynamics. Ravinder Singh, on these grounds, fails miserably!

To conclude, we might not be able to snatch the credit for being a successful storyteller from this novelist! Ravinder Singh had once become a sensation in the Indian book market! It is a big deal to steal the spot by competing with so many other novelists with more talent and skills. However, if you don’t have critical thinking, you may seldom last a day at the top. And the same happened with Singh. While Ravinder Singh’s novels have enjoyed commercial success, there are limitations to his ‘contributions’ to literature. I shun to believe that such authors make any valuable or meaningful contributions to the literature of any country or language. Lacking depth and the very soul that makes literature literary, these novelists can only produce flashes of ambitions and pull their fictional cart to a short distance before they fall flat and get trapped in their very own cobweb of the comfort zone… for Singh, it is telling the tales of love. How far? How long? How many? There is a limit to everything and now many notice it as well. Who cares if you too had a love story until you can make it something like Ishiguro did… but then, Ishiguro is Ishiguro.


By CyniCalLiterati for The Best Books

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