Chetan Bhagat's recent “Revolution 2020”, set in Varanasi,is a story about love, ambition and corruption

Moving along the ground floor in Citi Centre on Friday evening seemed impossible with a huge crowd of Chetan Bhagat fans lining up from the atrium to the entrance of the mall, book in hand and a smile on their faces. The author's fifth novel “Revolution 2020” was launched with much fanfare, with actor Suriya receiving the first copy.

Set in small-town India, “Revolution 2020” is based on love, corruption and ambition, while it also tries to dabble in the complex world of private education in India, with its scandals and pitfalls. “This book is a love story,” says the author. “It is set in Varanasi, and tells the story of a love triangle — among two boys and the one girl they both like.”

By the river

In the Ghats of India's temple town, Chetan tries to capture the flavour of a semi-urban town. “Most of India lives in small towns. And, Varanasi is unique because it's the oldest town in India with a holy river, and I wanted to portray that in my book — a love story in an ancient town by a river. I had to go there a few times and read up a lot on it, trying to find out where to set my characters. A lot of research also went into keeping the story there,” he says.

The story revolves around childhood friends Gopal, Raghav and Aarti. When the engineering entrance examinations loom closer, a love triangle blooms. Gopal wants to be rich while Raghav wants to create a revolution. How they find success and love forms the plot.

Corruption today

“Coaching classes have totally taken over these days, and the kind of schedules they have drain out any kind of childhood children these days are allowed to have. This book came about because of the corruption present in private education. I guess it needed to be talked about.”

On another plane runs the story of Raghav's revolution as a journalist; the reason for the book's name. “I've been talking about this for a long time, and just got around to finishing it,” says Chetan, “A lot of youngsters don't get good jobs, and soon they'll be out on the streets. In the book, a character predicts that a revolution is brewing, and will come out by 2020.”

“Revolution 2020” is available at leading bookstores for Rs. 140.