New Delhi | The first three novels in his Bharat Series being hailed as theological, political and mythological thrillers, writer Ashwin Sanghi wanted to explore the world of Indian business in his next and thus conceived ‘The Sialkot Saga’ like slow-cooked dum biryani.
The trajectories of Arvind and Arbaaz, both ‘businessmen of a kind whose lives are unwillingly intertwined, ricochet off one another while they play out their sinister and murderous plots of personal and professional one-upmanship, all the while breaking every rule in ‘The Sialkot Saga’, published by Westland Books.
According to Sanghi, who was brought up in a business family, ‘The Sialkot Saga’ was something he had in mind for long. I had been meaning to do it for the longest time ever but somehow other projects got in the way. This particular story is a slow-cooked ‘dum biryani’ that has taken a little over two years to fully cook, he says.
The first book of my Bharat Series ‘The Rozabal Line’ was a theological thriller. The second, ‘Chanakyas Chant’, was a political thriller. The third, ‘The Krishna Key’, was a mythological thriller. With this fourth book in the series, I wanted to explore the world of Indian business. I wanted to set this business story against the backdrop of post-independence India. That is precisely how ‘The Sialkot Saga’ was conceived, as a business thriller, says the entrepreneur-turned-thriller writer.
The bulk of the book explores the lives of protagonists, Arbaaz and Arvind through 60 years after independence. It is true that many businesses emerged post-1947 as a result of those who relocated (or were forced to flee either India or Pakistan). I felt that this was the perfect starting point for this business tale, Sanghi said. He describes ‘The Sialkot Saga’ as a business thriller that one will read from cover to cover without putting down the book and says it is not very and yet significantly different from his previous novels. Not very different because the modern-day tale of Arvind and Arbaaz is linked back to an ancient secret that dates back to the time of Ashoka.
Significantly different because I have not explored contemporary Indian history in any of my previous novels, whereas I have done that with this book, he says. The characters in the book are very real, says Sanghi.
One of the protagonists is an underworld thug while the other is bordering on white-collar crime. The shenanigans that they play out are also very real. As they say, fact is stranger than fiction. Most of the stories in my books are based on everyday events that happen before us every day. That makes the characters and situations feel real.