In life you never get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate. The previous line totally outlines the soul of Vikas Swarup’s The Accidental Apprentice, where a sophisticated billionaire industrialist Vinay Mohan Acharya proffers to hire 23 year old Sapna Sinha, an average middle-class salesgirl in a local electronic store, as the CEO of his ’10 billion dollars worth’ company- provided that she passes seven tests of life which’ll color out her CEO-sized dimensions of character, integrity, nerve, resourcefulness and decision-making abilities. With her teacher father dead, all family responsibilities shoulder on Sapna, and somehow she has to manage a living with a meager amount she earns working as the salesgirl. With all charged up ambitions she’s nurtured, plus the shimmery future up for catch, Sapna reluctantly agrees to this tycoon’s fantasy game where she gets to fight evils including child labor, forced marriage, illegal organ bartering, corruption, sexual assault, deceit and trickery- one after the another. And victorious does our underdog protagonist emerge, as does in every happy-ending fiction, but how is for you to read. Divulging anything more would be nothing less than criminal.
The 434 pages long book has been penned in a very Bollywood script manner, with the fairy tale-like developing story winding up into a far-fetched climax, and is not as engaging as Swarup’s earlier books Q&A (which was adapted into an Oscar winning movie Slumdog Millionaire) and Six Suspects. This book is unpredictable mostly, indeed, however the thrill is dead beat by the unimaginatively writ lines. The book does touch upon some prevailing social evils, but there is no new attempts at fighting the same. You’ve read or seen every counter-evil technique given in this book somewhere or the other. One can’t help but observe the similarity between this book and Q&A, where both protagonists learn from the ‘textbook of life’. Read this book to satisfy the wannabe-ish entrepreneur in you. And yes, wannabe-ish filmmakers may read this too.