Book review –The Princess in Black.
Authors: upendra dharmadhikari and changali anand
Publishers: srishti publications
Genre historic fiction.
Jahanara the daughter of Shahjahan is the will-o-wisp of the era, she has become the muse of many a writers it is quite interesting to read to various takes on her. The princess still resides in the shadow. In this particular story the princess has to make her presence felt through the layers of contemporary thrillers and the forgotten diamonds.
The book begins with the missing relic of Moghal the relic 27 and somewhere it get linked to an terror attack that links the TajMahal and visiting American diplomats very arbitrarily.
The authors here are blending the trail of the Moghal myth of the Noor-diamond the more elusive partner of the Kohinoor. The book does present some interesting references like “attention long enough to cook instant noodles.” Another observation of strong dynasties had strong presence of women. The fact that Moghal ruled with the duality of savagery and subtlety
the author has very interestingly linked protagonists, his title and the nebulous presence of the princess Jahanara in the Moghal history through inanimate objects like the black bag carried by the Saima the designer who is on the quest with Narayana, the black shoes of Major Rathore is the focus before skimming over the dark shadows that he is dealing with.
Yet the book has jarring notes like the characters of the protagonist Narayan Shashtri styled on Indiana Jones, his father and grandfather given very north Indian persona while trying to pass them off of as south Indians. Akbar was illiterate so his writing was done by a scribe and not by him personally.
Flashbacks and the ISI linking are rather random and abrupt, the introduction of Salim Khan, and his architect sister Safi, who is very obviously Saima the thought process of a typical Hindi movie emerges. There is also a hint of Salim and Safi being of the Moghal lineage though it is left to the reader to conclude. Of course on and off Saima becomes a surrogate for Jahanara.
The book comes across as a high school project of two very good storytellers. It lacks the research depth and drama factor.
About the authors–
Upendra Dharmadhikary — https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8436259.Upendra_Dharmadhikari
Changali Ananad — https://www.linkedin.com/pub/anand-changali/12/7aa/880