Cheap content, cheap jacket, cheap printing.
Cheap on the inside and cheap on the outside, that’s Five Point Someone for you.
Cheap in everything except the price ($14.95 for our copy of this junk at Amazon).
Five Point Someone is the kind of quickie trash that opportunistic hacks routinely churn out in fond hopes of making a fast buck on a passing or lasting fad.
In this case, the lasting fad happens to be the Indian obsession with IIT, short for the prestigious engineering school Indian Institute of Technology (of which there are 15 now).
For over four decades, Indian high school students in the north and south, east and west have considered admission into the portals of one of the IITs as the the ne plus ultra of their school years and the ultimate passport to success in life.
Ask any literate Indian and he’ll tell you that admission into IIT is synonymous with good prospects – A good job, a good salary and even a good marriage to a pretty/rich girl!
Is it any surprise then that hundreds of thousands sit for the IIT exam each year but barely a few thousand manage to get in.
Over the last 50 years, the government of India has pumped millions of dollars into the various IITs but these elite engineering colleges have little to show for in terms of applied research, major scientific breakthroughs or Nobels.
And yes, significant chunks of graduates from the different IITs have turned their back on India and headed West in their urgent quest for mucho dollars.
It’s against this background (obvious to most desis but not to foreigners) that one reads Five Point Someone.
Five Point Someone traces the lives of three IIT Delhi boys – Hari Kumar (also the narrator), Ryan Oberoi and Alok Gupta – from the time they get into the engineering school, the early ragging days, their friendship and all the way through graduation four years later.
Unlike the overwhelming majority IITians who are given to endless hours of cramming in pursuit of the holy grail of a high grade point average, the troika is indifferent to academic work, laze around, watch movies, blame the system, play squash or spend time frollicking in ice-cream parlors with their girlfriends.
So what do you think happens?
The inevitable. They score low GPAs in their exams and stand at the bottom of their Mechanical Engineering class.
Well, the shit hits the fan in the final year when the desperate boys try something stupid.
Folks, that in a nutshell is the not-gripping story of Five Point Someone.
We found the story drab and often implausible. The principal characters lack depth, appear listless and never once jump off the page.
There are no great twists in the plot. Nothing you don’t see coming.
Author Chetan Bhagat’s writing style is for the most part uninspired and dull. As sophomoric as the three youths he writes about.
Except on a few stray pages, there’s not much humor in the story either though the author seems to make a desperate stab at it in the voice of the narrator Hari. Some of the characters and situations are stereotypes – the friendly professor, the stern professor, the bad hostel food et al.
Worse, the author can’t even bring himself to avoid the happy ending, so beloved of all Indians even if it seldom happens in real life.
And this happy ending comes in the face of eggregious misconduct by the three friends, a reprehensible act that would surely result in explusion in any college on the planet.
Except in this book.
Folks, if you haven’t read this 267-page book all we can say is that your time is well-spent avoiding such junk.
Similar but Better
A few decades back, we picked up Erich Segal’s The Class, which tracks the lives of five students from the time they are admitted into Harvard and for several decades afterwards.
Now that’s a good read.
Just in case you are one of those rare dodos unfamiliar with Erich Segal, he’s the author of Love Story.
Remember the famous line Love means never having to say you’re sorry?
Bet you schmucks don’t.
Well, that line is from Love Story.
Sad but True
True to form, Bollywood, that quintessence of all things second-rate, has made a film (Three Idiots) based on this mediocre shit Five Point Someone.
The movie features a bunch of 40-something clowns playing young engineering students.
Given the book is so crappy, we expect the movie will be no different.
SRK, Akshay, Hrithik, Salman Peeing in Their Undies
3 Idiots Box Office – Even Dung Finds Eager Takers
3 Idiots Review – Total Garbage
Having read your review, I want to tell you that Five Point Someone is the best book Chetan Bhagat has ever written, and compared to his other books, you’re going to feel this one deserves a Booker or something 😉
I read this one a long time back, and I remember thinking of it as a very simple, funny afternoon read; or maybe I could identify with the five point someones, being one myself 😉
How can you identify it with The Class, though? The very thought is unimaginable to me, considering that The Class is so many intellectual levels higher, and so much more sophisticated.
1. We brought in The Class here because it has a similar theme – following the lives of five students at another elite college – Harvard (the class of 58, or was it 59).
Of course, The Class was orders of magnitude classier and better.
2. You write: Having read your review, I want to tell you that Five Point Someone is the best book Chetan Bhagat has ever written,
Is that so?
We shudder to think how bad the other books must be then! 🙁
I wanted to ask how you find Aravind Adiga’s “White Tiger” .The book won the Man Booker Prize for 2008.Have you read it?
Please tell me how you find it.I read the book once,could not sleep well due to a bad dream(actually the murder scene was so violently described,it lead to a bad dream).It is a murder story and also describes the ills of India…
Also if you want to read really serious books,I would suggest you to read the book “Trick or Treatment”. Read it recently,it was awesome!!It is written by Simon Singh and Edzard Nernst.One is a doctor.They have declared by evidence how alternative therapy is both harmful and also helping some diseases.
One request,please do not read Chetan Bhagat ‘s books,they are like a film script,instead of that,you can read even novels of great Sidney Sheldon.They will be more entertaining than this piece of crap!!
1. Yes, we’ve read the White Tiger. Did not think much of it.
2. We’ll take a look at Trick or Treatment.
BTW, herbal supplements are a big business in the U.S.
I agree with you. I have read 2 of Chetan Bhagat’s novels. While reading through the novels, I observed 4 things
1) The Novel always resembles a Bollywood script. Even the Cover page indicates the words, “Soon to be made into a Bollywood film.” I guess the author’s main aim is to be a best seller rather than to be a best writer.
2) The plots are predictable, sometimes very filmy.
3) The characters seem to be a bit exaggerated at times. The best example being the characters in the Novel ‘One Night@a Call Center’
4) The Author always takes a ‘social problem’ as the main agenda. For example: The MECHANICAL System of Education in IIT in FIVE POINT SOMEONE, the pressure and insults faced by Indian Youths in One Night@ a Call Center.
Chetan Bhagat is a good story teller, not a good novelist. I am sure you disagree with the former.
You are 101st critic to thrash his book.
And last, but not least, you are absolutely wrong about the writing style of Chetan Bhagat. Compared to good contemparary writers like Paulo Coelho, Chetan’s style is active, but his novels have no good material. I am sure you disagree with me, but this is a fact.
1. You write: Chetan Bhagat is a good story teller, not a good novelist.
Since we don’t consider Five Point Someone to be a good story, it’s hard for us to accept that the author is a good story teller.
Successful, yes. Good story teller/novelist, no.
2. You write: The Author always takes a ‘social problem’ as the main agenda.
Au contraire, the way this book turns out it looked he was merely picking up a fad and trying to capitalize on that. Not picking up a social problem and dissecting it through the format of the novel.
Let’s see how the movie turns out. Three Idiots is releasing in the U.S. today.
$14.95?? That’s huge. Very huge I say.
In India, all Chetan Bhagat books are around Rs80 – 95Rs. That is close to $2. Chetan Bhagat books are strictly NO, NO for those who read James Joyce, Salman Rushdie or V.S Naipaul.
In India, there are more people who have read ‘Five Point ..’ than all the above three combined.
1. Yes, $14.95 is King’s ransom for a piece of trash like this. But the book is not easily available here.
2. You write: In India, there are more people who have read ‘Five Point …
We have no doubt.
In Incredible India, more people would probably watch a Drona or a stolen shit like Ghajini than an Avatar or a Slumdog Millionaire. 😉
Oh man why on earth did you even read this novel??
Its been light years since you passed out of college (have you ever been to one? ;)), youth, middle-age etc. So you must have probably identified yourself with that Professor in the novel, I don’t remember his name – Neha’s father, cherin or something.
You gotta identify yourself as one of the three students to enjoy this simple novel. All other works of Chetan Bhagat are crap.
Most of what you’ve mentioned about IIT is true, not all. IIT-JEE is one of the toughest exams in the world to crack and yeah, they go west once completing undergraduation probably because graduate/post-graduate is not good in India.
>> these elite engineering colleges have little to show for in terms of applied research, major scientific breakthroughs or Nobels.
Can you show me the colleges anywhere in the world having major scientific breakthroughs and Nobels via undergraduates??
1. You write: Oh man why on earth did you even read this novel??
Because the Aamir Khan-Madhavan-Sharman Joshi movie Three Idiots is releasing in the U.S. today. The movie is based on this book.
2. You seem to forget that IIT offers post-graduate and research programs as well. Given our overall investment in these ‘higher temples of education’ the benefit to India is insignificant.
3. You write: Its been light years since you passed out of college (have you ever been to one? ;)), youth, middle-age etc. So you must have probably identified yourself with that Professor in the novel, I don’t remember his name – Neha’s father, cherin or something.
At no time could we identify with any of the characters. Or even the professors, either the stern ones (Cherian) or the friendly guys (Veera).
Try reading Erich Segal’s Class, you”ll know the difference between a crass novel (Chetan Bhagat) and a class novel (Erich Segal). As we’ve said earlier, both are set in an elite academic institution.
“What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me.”
Too good to be true.
Coming on Five point, this book was full of stereotypes as you mentioned, but somehow it appealed to masses.
Remember Main ho naa and om shanti om were jumbo hits, so anything is possible in India. You can add tonnes of movies to your incredible india section.
Never read anything as fresh and breezy as erich segal.
T’was class of 58 in the class.
Would like you to review Arundhati Roy’s God of small things.
And i bought a iphone 3gs 16gb…:)
1. The Love Story lines you quote above are great lines.
Even if it’s too good to be true, it surely struck a chord with most readers
2. You write: Would like you to review Arundhati Royâ€™s God of small things.
We’ll do it one of these days. Plus, we find the woman sexy too. 😉
3. You write: And i bought a iphone 3gs 16gb.
Must be expensive in India, na??
Here the 16GB iPhone 3GS is $199 but you have to sign a 2-yr contract with a service plan of at least $72 per month.
We’re planning to upgrade from the iPhone 3G to iPhone 3GS. Not a big difference between the two.
The reason for our upgrade is that the home button at the bottom of our iPhone 3G is losing sensitivity. Now we have to press it twice or sometimes even thrice to get to the home screen.
Maybe some Rasam or Sambar went into our iPhone. You see, sometimes we handle the iPhone while eating (mostly to check if there’s a comment). 😉
Well, Bhagat is no great Shakes(peare).
I recently read his “2 States: The story of my marriage”
and found it to be time-pass.
I certainly found “2 states…” to be much more humourous than five-point …, although stereotypes exist here too, not to speak of oversimplification of situations.
Have you read (or watched the movie version of) “To Sir, with love” written by E.R.Braithwaite ? The book is said to be the big-daddy of all such classroom stories where an incumbent teacher faces a rather hostile class of students, and eventually, wins over them.
We had a small part of it as an English lesson, and I really loved it.
Our English teacher narrated the story of the book to us and chided us for reading nonsensical comics (chacha chaudhary, champak, lotpot, etc), instead of good books like “To Sir …” (that was 17 years back). Havent done it yet, but will do soon.
You write: We had a small part of it as an English lesson, and I really loved it.
We too read To Sir, with Love in high school. Can hardly remember anything of the story. Will pick it up again.
Right now, we’re reading Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop. Hilarious. Brilliant writer.
On an other note, I had seen Arya2 (I was forcefully dragged to the theatre) and Paa.
For Arya2 ,To make things interesting I forced my friend to get tickets in the front rows to enjoy among the masses. Many a times I’ve screamed at the inane dialogues. Movie is a trash. But I liked Arjun’s dance, Kajal’s beauty and not the least, proud iphone flaunter Brahmanandam jokes. ;). The last one bought some sense of wicked smile as I imagined all the iphone flaunters who crossed my life.
Coming to Paa, It’s an Ok movie. Vidhya Balan, Arundati Nag , Abhishek Bachan were good. I cannot comment on Big B’s acting because the role was too difficult. I could’t set any standard for that role to actually compare if Big B performed well or not.
(Now, please please don’t provide a link to ‘US critics pee on Paa’ in answer to this comment 🙂 )
1. You write above: Coming to Paa, It’s an Ok movie. Vidhya Balan, Arundati Nag , Abhishek Bachan were good.
We think it’s sacrilegious to use the words good and Abhishek Bachchan in the same sentence. May we humbly suggest duffer or gofer the next time you mention Bachchan JR?
2. You write: Now, please please don’t provide a link to ‘US critics pee on Paa‘ in answer to this comment
We won’t but how did the link creep into your question above. 😉
3. You write: For Arya2 ,To make things interesting I forced my friend to get tickets in the front rows to enjoy among the masses. Many a times Iâ€™ve screamed at the inane dialogues. Movie is a trash. But I liked Arjunâ€™s dance, Kajalâ€™s beauty and not the least, proud iphone flaunter Brahmanandam jokes
Front row, back row or middle row, Arya 2 is a Back-Alley Abortion.
Kajal would have been better eye-candy if only she did not hail from Man-chester. 😉
Yaa it’s expensive here… It costs INR 30,000+, depending on the operator. But the charge of the tariff plan is almost nominal.
I also have a history of destructing electronics, but never murdered one with sambhar, water did the trick for me (most of the times)…:)
Indeed, it is the best ever start a novel could get. The hangover of the novel lingers on, so it was just a make believe line(too good to be true) for me that it’s just a story. Wasn’t commenting on the brilliance of the creation.
She is indeed sexy. The intellectual factor also adds to her sex appeal (i think so)…:)
I can assure you that it is an extraordinary book, light years ahead of anyone’s five points.
You write: She is indeed sexy. The intellectual factor also adds to her sex appeal….I can assure you that it is an extraordinary book
We’ll definitely pick up The God of Small Things soon.
Just checked. Our local library has it.
@SearchIndia:”We think itâ€™s sacrilegious to use the words good and Abhishek Bachchan in the same sentence. May we humbly suggest duffer or gofer the next time you mention Bachchan JR”
–Oh! I thought I’ve seen the movie Paa before commenting on Abhishek Bachchan who had been a creepy creature to me in all his earlier movies. Also, If you remember your super-hyper-ultra favourite US critics had some positives about Bachchan JR.
@SearchIndia:”Kajal would have been better eye-candy if only she did not hail from Man-chester”
–I was so deeply engrossed in watching her face, that I did not look at her breasts at all. I think that is what beauty means. She wasn’t my d*** raiser anyway. Kirsten Stewart, Meghan Fox are available for such things 🙂
1. You write above: If you remember your super-hyper-ultra favourite US critics had some positives about Bachchan JR
Maybe, he took them to dinner where they were so bedazzled by the dazzling Ash that they were in a daze when they wrote something +ve about AB Jr.
2. You write: I was so deeply engrossed in watching her face, that I did not look at her breasts at all. I think that is what beauty means. She wasn’t my d*** raiser anyway.
Among the younger lot, we like Mounna Bhat. Manchi bagundi, whatever that means. 😉
Now, that’s kind of face that can easily launch a thousand ships.
Thanks for the review.
Just a small correction though. 3 idiots is not based on 5 Point someone. Both chetan bhagat and rajkumar hirani confirmed the fact that the story of the movie is completely different although the characters are somewhat similar to the book. The director Rajkumar Hirani just read the book and got inspired to make a film on the education system of india. 🙂
BTW, I liked 5 point someone. Found it to be quite humourous and relatable.
Most reports we’ve read suggest that Three Idiots has its basis in Five Point Someone.
To what extent the movie diverges from the book, we’ll know if we watch the movie.
Segal was 50 when he wrote that.. Bhagat was 30. Segal studied literature and Bhagat studied ME & Management.. so it is probably unfair to compare them.. I wouldn’t touch either of those novels.. so will never know.
Bhagat is/was suspected(one of the suspects) to be the “FIP” a.k.a fake ipl player.. do you see any similarities in writing style between “5 point someone” and that blog.
1. You write: Segal was 50 when he wrote that.. Bhagat was 30. Segal studied literature and Bhagat studied ME & Management.. so it is probably unfair to compare them..
That’s absolute baloney.
Age – What an effete excuse to justify mediocrity.
Some of the finest/interesting works (both fiction and non-fiction) have been produced by writers in their thirties
For instance, Kafka, Boetie, Joseph Heller (Catch-22), Erich Segal (Love Story) ad nauseum ad infinitum wrote their most (??) interesting books in their 30s.
And often by folks without a formal background in literature.
Cattle-class traveler Shashi Tharoor wrote a fine satire The Great Indian Novel when he was 33 (We recommend the book).
And Hugh Hefner founded Playboy magazine before he was 30. 😉
Bottom line, age is not the issue here.
Chetan Bhagat was plain lazy to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite plus he lacked the imagination to weave a compelling story.
Writing like any other creative task is a hard exercise. Five Point Someone proves the author was not equal to the task.
2. You write: Bhagat is/was suspected (one of the suspects) to be the “FIP” a.k.a fake ipl player.. do you see any similarities in writing style between “5 point someone” and that blog.
We’ve read only a few Fake IPL Player posts.
The flow is smoother in the Fake IPL Player posts than in the Five Point Someone book.
It’s of course possible Bhagat has improved his writing style since he wrote the Five Point book five years earlier.
But there are some subtle grammatical errors in the Fake IPL Posts that Bhagat, if he were writing them, would likely not have made.
there are some subtle grammatical errors
You’d probably shy away from my suggestion.. but I had suggested you to correct our (or atleast mine) grammar whenever you see mistakes (my posts will be full of them.. both subtle and unsubtle.. so I understand that this project will be tougher than a 120 mile round trip to watch a Vijay/Ajith movie).
It’ll also piss some people off.. isn’t that part of your hidden agenda (“mind games”).
We do fix ‘some’ errors. 😉
>> We do fix â€™someâ€™ errors.
Do you? In fact you project my errors with a [sic] keyword 🙁
Not us…must be the night shift coolie here. 😉
Your response is a classic problem of expectation versus reality. You expect Author A(Bhagat) to write a novel in the league of Author B(Segal) and are disappointed.
The author didn’t promise a masterpiece. He promised a breezy read. After all he’s an investment banker, not a proper novelist.
It like going to Vettaikaran and expecting Avatar. (You will get an ‘Avatar’ of Vijay, just one you wont like).
One issue with some Indian writers is the absence of qualified proof readers and editors who can sculpt novels into fine products.
You write: The author didn’t promise a masterpiece. He promised a breezy read. After all he’s an investment banker, not a proper novelist.
Five Point Someone is no breezy read. Amateur stuff.
As for your ‘investment banker’ point, the next time we see an Ajith movie we’ll be more considerate and lower our expectations to zero. After all, Ajith was a racer and not born into a film family. 😉
Ain’t no thing as ‘proper novelist’ or ‘improper novelist’….once you enter the arena you better deliver.
Just out of text,
While I agree with most of the things you say in your blog as i live in india and i know how bad the situation here is. Yes the India is growing at a very fast rate but when it comes to infrastructure, social values, discipline, we are far behind not only from Europe or U.S. but from similar countries like China and Russia.
but the thing i am wondering is if you are so against India and Indians why you have named your blog search india. I believe you are an Indian living in us.
You write: the thing i am wondering is if you are so against India and Indians why you have named your blog search india. I believe you are an Indian living in us.
We are actually Pakistanis from Swat Valley.
But let’s keep that a secret just between us. We won’t tell the others. Alright?
Mera Bharat Mahaan. 😉
Ok, i will keep this as a secret between me, you and all blog readers.
Under any circumstance, do not share our Paki background with other readers. The schmucks believe we’re Indians. 😉
Giving the excuse that Chetan Bhagat is not from a literary background is plain shit. In that case, he better stop churning out such books. Also, answering your statement that Chetan Bhagat might not have made those grammar mistakes – Why not? I would think he delivers just a rough draft, and his editor irons out the kinks and shells out what she/he can.
And hey, read those lines from Love Story after a long, long time – Made my heart skip a beat.
Btw, I completed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo… Amazing read. I was so engrossed into the book, I took it to office everyday, reading what I could on the train commute. Will try to write a review soon 🙂 Am well into the second book now, will most likely finish it by this weekend.
I haven’t read The God of Small Things. But then, from people who have read it, I’ve gotten completely extreme reviews – either excellent, or total crap 😉
1. You write above: Giving the excuse that Chetan Bhagat is not from a literary background is plain shit. In that case, he better stop churning out such books
2. You write: Also, answering your statement that Chetan Bhagat might not have made those grammar mistakes – Why not? I would think he delivers just a rough draft, and his editor irons out the kinks and shells out what she/he can.
We’re making an assumption here that Bhagat having written three or four books before Fake IPL Player posts would have mastered the nuances of grammar so as not to make the kind of subtle errors we found in the Fake blog post.
Also we’d like to believe a ‘professional’ writer delivers more than just a rough draft to the editor. However, we are not that familiar with the mechanics of the author-editor working relationship and we could be a little off the mark.
3. You write: Btw, I completed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo… Amazing read….Am well into the second book now
The third book in the trilogy – The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest – has been released in India but not in the U.S. 🙁 We’re trying to get hold of it.
Saw The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest on display at a bookstore the other day… Its HUGE! Maybe as huge as the first two books combined. Didn’t get a chance to buy it yet – Will finish this book first and head for the store with a fresh appetite.
Off topic – Good morning! 😉
1. If our lust for Lisbeth Salander gets the better of us, 😉 we might order The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest from UK.
$26.31 including shipping & postage from UK. 🙁 Too much even for sweetie Lisbeth Salander.
2. And a very Good Evening to you, Mademoiselle. 😉
We’re praying for the snow pile on the ground to melt soon. Alas, won’t happen for a few days.
So you choose swat for your framed pakistani background, the so called switzerland of pakistan.
By the way I am also not Indian and do not live in India.
ha ha ha.
You write: By the way I am also not Indian and do not live in India
well, i dont know why, i kinda liked this novel, may be its bcos i read this during college days., but i can tell all his next novels can be equated to shit ( i mean 1 night and 3 mistakes),this guy chetan bhagat is like vijay who dishes out the same thing again and again, just bcos the first one brought him so much fame. One good thing happened due to this novel is that the market for desi english novels increased due to which, may be we can see some better books in future.
You write: One good thing happened due to this novel is that the market for desi english novels increased due to which, may be we can see some better books in future.
We’ve had decent Indian writers in English for decades. Nirad babu, Vikram Seth, Vikram Chandra et al.
This Chetan fella actually lowered the standards.
that was a quick reply, by the way, have u seen the revenge trilogy by park chan wook?, if u havent, then u should, atleast the third movie, “sympathy for lady vengeance”.
You write: have u seen the revenge trilogy by park chan wook?
We think we’ve seen Oldboy…the original version of Sanjay Dutt’s Zinda. But we can’t be sure until we watch at least a few minutes of the film again.
Oldboy has been on my instant queue forever.. haven’t watched..
watched an epic 3.25 hour movie last night.. you may have heard about it.. Kandaswamy.. the vadivelu track was intact in this bluray version.. lucky me.
1. Will check out oldboy on Netflix.
2. You write: watched an epic 3.25 hour movie last night.. you may have heard about it.. Kandaswamy..
As we wrote a few months back, Kanthaswamy is a kuppaeswamy padam. We were lucky…watched the French film Au revoir, les enfants on Netflix Instant Play last night.
@ Vetti Jijaji: the vadivelu track was intact in this bluray version.. lucky me.
Oldboy is that Korean movie right? I liked it a lot. Sort of disturbing…
Btw, I read Chetan’s fourth novel, The 2 states. It was sh*tty… He has the same style for all his novels and I got really bored on reading this. It was like a megaserial – I skipped several pages here and there and somehow finished it.
1. We still haven’t seen Oldboy although we’ve seen the Bollywood version Zinda (pre-SI blog review).
2. You write: Btw, I read Chetan’s fourth novel, The 2 states. It was sh*tty…
Good, then it stands a solid chance of being made into a record-shattering movie a la 3 Idiots in Incredible India. 🙁