Friday, December 27, 2013

Hindi Pulp: Surender Mohan Pathak's Dhabba

Surender Mohan Pathak is a well-known name in the field of Hindi pulp literature. Author of nearly 300 crime novels, he has a number of series and stand-alones to his credit. The earliest series that he wrote is the Sunil series. Sunil Kumar Chakravarty is a reporter at the daily Blast in the fictitious city of Rajnagar, a modern-day metropolitan in India situated near the sea. Zooming on his Bullet motorcycle with the cigarette Luckystrike in his mouth, Sunil is the usual dashing hero who besides being an honest and upright reporter often turns into a detective whenever there is a person (read damsel) in distress. As an investigator he is helped by his friend Ramakant Malhotra, the chain-smoking, whisky-guzzling owner of a club. There is also a Lieutenant Tragg like figure in Inspector Prabhu Dayal with whom Sunil often matches his wits. Sunil is also apparently a secret agent and at times is called for certain espionage operations. Not even those who are closest to him are aware of this secret identity of his.



In Dhabba ( The Stain), a millionaire on his death-bed wills his fortune to his nurse in gratitude for the way she had taken care of him during his prolonged period of ill-health. Naturally, his family members are not too happy about the turn of events and decide to contest the will. The nurse meanwhile meets with an accident and dies and the fortune passes on to her daughter Vaishali. Suddenly, one of the witnesses of the will, Gauri Parmar, another nurse in same hospital where Vaishali's mother used to work, starts proclaiming that she had no idea about what she had signed-on. It is not long before she is found dead and the suspicion naturally falls on Vaishali who would have been deprived of a fortune had Gauri stuck to her stand. Vaishali appeals to Sunil and he starts investigating the case in order to prove her innocence.

I have read a number of Sunil books over the years and while the mystery is just about okay, I absolutely adore the conversations and confrontations between the sensible Sunil and the insensible Ramakant. This book is no exception.

For those who are interested, two of Pathak's books have been translated into English by Blaft publishers who are doing a great work in translating  pulp from Indian languages to English. The two books are from Pathak's Vimal series. Here's a link to one of his works @ Detectives Beyond Borders.

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First Line: Shaam sadhe aath baje ke karib Sunil Youth Club pahuncha.

Title: Dhabba

Series: Sunil # 119

Author: Surender Mohan Pathak

Publication Details: ND: Raja Pocket Books, 2010

First Published: 2010

Pages: 334

Other books read of the same author: (Among others) Meena Murder Case, Kala Karnama

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Submitted for various challenges.

1 comment:

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