Wednesday, 24 October 2012

‘The Bankster’ Book Review: Caution, addictive material inside!

‘The Bankster’ Book Review: Caution, addictive material inside!

Virtually every year, Ravi Subramanian manages to whip-up a storm that makes you redundant and hypnotized for atleast 2-3 days/nights (depending upon your reading pace and profession).  Every year, my family is baffled with my state of trance, monosyllabic responses and an almost zombie-like existence. Every year, Ravi Subramanian does to me, what Mahabharat teleseries and much later KBC did to an entire nation – Bring it to a virtual halt!

The latest from Ravi Subramanian (If God was a Banker, Devil in Pinstripes, The Incredible Banker) had blockbuster written all over it with. Familiar premise in which the author excels in, exciting plot outline (frauds, murders, terror trail) and a good, strong marketing buzz preceding the launch. And to cut to the chase, the book does lives up to every bit of the huge expectations and DELIVERS A KNOCK-OUT PUNCH! It’s a riveting page-turner like all its predecessors and a smash-hit all the way.

It’s a satiating feeling as a reader, or for that matter, any audience (movie, music, theatre, restaurant) to come with high expectations to a certain franchise and having your expectations met. To clinical precision.
Ravi Subramanian kickstarted with simple tales of highly seductive banking careers, the corporate games, greed, lust and the heady feeling of absolute power in his initial two books – ‘If God was a Banker’ and ‘Devil in Pinstripes’. His banking story-canvas and ability to thrill took a quantum leap through ‘The Incredible Banker’. An ‘Incredibly’ ambitious and spine-chilling tale on familiar banking premises, with a whole new angle of money laundering, terrorism and corporate infiltration. A classic whodunit that not just pushed, but tore apart the envelope of Indian corporate fiction (perhaps, creating a whole new category in itself!).
In his latest, ‘The Bankster’, Ravi sets himself with clinical precision in a very similar story-trajectory like ‘The Incredible Banker’. A multi-lateral story style with atleast 3-4 different tracks running parallel in different parts of the globe (Angola, Mumbai, Devikulam – Kerala, Vienna) and the final promise of connecting them beautifully in the climax. The familiar banking corridors of money laundering, landmines in the form of unsuspicious femme fatales and ofcourse the lust for absolute power. The Incredible Banker-template is followed to the T in terms of the narrative style, character-setting and leading up to nail-biting photo finish.
Now this Incredible Banker-template could be a double-edged sword. For some (like me), it’s like homecoming to a templatized thriller! However, for others, there couldn’t be a bigger oxymoron – Templatized thriller, eh? For the cynics, the more than few striking plot similarities, could be more of a case of an ‘Incredible Banker Remake’ than a sequel or ‘Incredible Banker Reloaded’.
However, leaving aside the cynicism, there are quite a few other factors that make ‘The Bankster’ a thoroughly gripping saga.
  • On atleast 2 occasions the story jolts you like a thunderbolt. In true thriller style, it hits you hard in the gut and catches you completely off-guard.
  • The multi-track stories are so distant, so distinct, so apart, that it’s impossible to place a common thread till the very last 50-odd pages. Now isn’t that a major success for any worth-its-salt whodunit?
  • As indicated earlier, the canvas is much bigger, neatly intertwined and richly characterized than ever before.
  • And finally, a brilliantly maverick and ‘i-CONic’ plot twist towards the climax takes ‘The Bankster’ many notches above all its predecessors.
To sum it up, ‘The Bankster’ is 350-odd pages of an amazingly racy and incredibly intriguing saga. With this, Ravi Subramanian firmly entrenches his distinct stamp on a unique genre that he started with ‘If God was a Banker’. The genre that got further established with ‘Devil in Pinstripes’, expanded big-time through ‘The Incredible Banker’ and has now become a certified franchise through ‘The Bankster’.
However, now that Ravi has minutely combed through the entire underbelly of banking, corporate power games, terror, money laundering, adultery and infiltration, here are some million-copy questions – What Next? Is there still anything more left in the Banking-mafia to be explored and exposed? Can Ravi risk attempting yet another ‘Bankable’ tale? Or perhaps this genre has now been milked to its optimum and Ravi will have to look for a newer premise in his next outing?
With ‘The Bankster’, Ravi seems to have hit a sweet pinnacle in his bankable oeuvre. However, this is also the best time for an author to firmly perch his flag and move on. Remaking your own hits is an idea that drained all the creativity out of yet another maverick, Ram Gopal Varma (Shiva-James-Shiva, Raat-Bhoot-Vastushastra-Bhoot Returns). Following a set-template has seen Chetan Bhagat hitting a dangerous low with ‘Revolution 2020’. Hope, Ravi Subramanian has the right answers and does a Rajkumar Hirani on his readers very soon! The vision to start afresh with 3 Idiots rather than passionately milking the highly successful Munnabhai Franchise.
For the moment, go relish ‘The Bankster’ and get lost in its addictive, explosive, unputdownably ‘i-CONic’ content!
P.S. Just like high-integrity restaurant reviews, I paid for my copy of ‘The Bankster’. Though, BlogAdda is running an interesting campaign on signing up to review ‘The Bankster’ in your blog within 7 days and winning about 220 author signed copies, the joy of buying a copy of your favorite author and reviewing it sans any obligations is unparalleled.


  1. An awesome review Himanshu. Ravi has a unique writing style and the best part is the climax, be it "If God was a Banker or "The Incredible Banker". The other one I have not yet read.

    I will surely grab my copy at the earliest:) Thanks again for this review.

  2. I got to know about this book through flipkart and purchased it immediately as have been waiting for since long Ravi Subramanian's book after Devils in pinstripes. It was difficult to relate to the story initially but as I read further I finished the book in one go itself. Talks about the real banking wold work pressure, work life balance, funding to maoists and forgetting your real values and ethics to achieve numbers. I believe what Ravi wrote is true and the kind of politics mentioned is definitely prevailing in the current business scenario in india. A must read for all Financial Service professionals....

  3. Glad to know Rahul that you too have taken a liking to Ravi's incredible books. Addicitive, unputdownable, immensely gripping and riveting page-turners!