Maharaja in Denims

Title: Maharaja in DenimsMaharaja in Denims
Author: Khushwant Singh
Publisher: Amaryllis
ISBN: 978-93-81506-43-1
Number of Pages: 175
Price [INR] : 250
Genre: Fiction

Chandigarh: a modern city with all the trappings of the uber-rich – snazzy SUVs, glitzy homes, and fast-paced, decadent lifestyles.

Hari and Suzanne: a young, lusty, college-going couple. While living the life of a normal teenager, Hari starts getting flashes of his past life – which tell him he’s an incarnation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the mighty founder of Sikh empire two hundred years ago. And when Suzanne attempts to decode Hari’s past life through regression, their lives change forever as many shocking past lives are discovered!

Interwoven throughout the unfolding of Hari and Suzanne’s present day story are vignettes of Ranjit Singh’s life and loves, valour and conquests. When Suzanne helps Hari uncover the secrets of his past life, they stumble upon people and incidents that link the present day to the turbulent and disturbing history of Punjab.

The intense story moves to England and then to Mumbai, with an astonishing revelation at the end, which is set in the future yet has a deep historical resonance. A modern tale, Maharaja in Denims is moving, bold, and racy.

First things first… the first two things that I liked about this book… the title and the cover design. The title of the book, Maharaja in Denims, is simply apt and the cover design is absolutely gorgeous and compliments the title completely.

Maharaja in Denims is a historical fiction with a novel story line. Hari, a 19 year old college student suddenly discovers that he is a reincarnation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Lion of Punjab and the founder of the Sikh Empire. He gets flashes of information about the life and times of the Sikh ruler without ever knowing anything about him. His girlfriend, Suzanne who is a student of Psychology helps him recover memories of his past life or reincarnations through regression technique.

Maharaja in Denims connects the past and the present with the story of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s life, loves, rule, battles and times along with the current love story of Hari.

The book deals with a lot of insights on the culture, lifestyle, people, trends,  traditions and issues of Punjab. Being a Punjabi, I could relate to all that and simply enjoyed the dialogues in Punjabi (No, they are not too many and of course, they are translated in English too). It brings to the fore the increasing trend of Sikhs with shorn hair (cut-surds), affluent kids with SUVs and expensive motorbikes, the skewed male-female ratio in the state, preference of weekend get-aways in Himachal, dollar dreams of the youth, UK-based second generation NRIs, deaths of farmers due to pesticides, drug addiction along with the killing of the Sikhs after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, the politics of votes and the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

The language is impeccable and the narrative is smooth. Though I think that the historical reference of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was a bit too much and Hari’s future life progression somehow appeared unrealistic.

The climax of the book came with an unexpected twist which is tinged with tragedy and was also a bit dramatic. But guess, that is needed to make the book ‘work’.

Maharaja in Denims is an enjoyable and enlightening read and a pleasant way to spend a few hours.


Author Bio : Born on 11 July 1972, in a leading farming family of Punjab, Khushwant khushwant-singh-picSingh developed writing as an alternate career at the age of twenty-four. He is the author of best-selling Sikhs Unlimited, a travelogue from UK to USA featuring extraordinary Sikhs and Turbaned Tornado, biography of Fauja Singh, the world’s oldest marathon runner.

His Sunday column, ‘Punjabi by Nature’ in The Hindustan Times on the passions, problems and idiosyncracies of the region, is widely read. An alumnus of St. John’s High School, Chandigarh and Department of Mass Communication, Punjab University, Khushwant Singh has also written for the Times of India, The Tribune, BBC Online and India Today.

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45 thoughts on “Maharaja in Denims

  1. I loved the cover and title too. From the looks, it sounded more like humour novel, but after I read your review, it’s totally different. Nice plot, would love to know what happened in the end.

    • Oh, it is not that Khushwant Singh, Vidya. 😛
      But still the book is good. Thanks, glad you liked the review and you must check it out too 🙂

  2. i liked the story, the title and the cover too. From your review, the book sounds interesting . i can understand punjabi and love reading about other culture. Are the historical references facts? anyways, i am sure i will love this. I will mark this book. And yes, yours and swapna raghu sanand’s reviews are the reason i have resumed reading physical books. I am reading zen garden now:) Thank you.

    • Wow, you can understand Punjabi! How cool is that! 🙂 Yes, it gives a lot of insights about the culture of Punjab, I am sure, you will like this book, Asha.
      Aww, you are too generous and sweet and thank you so much for the confidence in my reviews. Swapna is awesome with her reviews too.
      Zen Garden… have heard a lot about this book. Do share your review once you are done with it 🙂

  3. Have only read one of KS’ book – Train to Pakistan. But used to enjoy his weekly column in the newspaper – With Malice toward One and All. Your excellent review of this book, and the very interesting plot does make it sound like a very good read. May pick it up soon. Thanks Shilpa!

    • Oops! I guess there’s a communication gap. We have 2 KSs who are authors and columnists. I have added the author bio now for the writer of Maharaja in Denims. 🙂
      Oh, I loved With Malice towards One and All. Thanks Beloo, glad you liked this review 🙂

  4. Interesting…it starts off like Vikram Bhatt’s Dangerous Ishq – but Punjab part is weaving out well. Book seems promising..plan to grab my copy – this weekend

    Thanks for the review…

  5. I am buying this .. as I have been doing a lot of reading on Maharaja Ranjit Singh and then Maharaja Dilip Singh his son , the last Sikh ruler who was taken to England when a little kid.. how he returned back to Sikhism and during independence the struggle he had ..

    There is a statue here of Maharaja Dilip Singh…

    And somehow looking at the pic of the author, I think I know him 🙂 Ah well maybe not ..


  6. Language being impeccable has become such a rarity in contemporary books. One would think it is a basic requirement in a book but sadly, I find books by modern day authors full of slang and too many licentious usages under the excuse of being ‘current and trendy’ 🙁
    When I do chance upon well written books, it feels like breathing in clean oxygen somewhere in a forest area after being caught in a polluted claustrophobic city for a while.

    • I know what you mean, Aarthy! Reading a book with bad grammar and errors is such a put off. Editing is wanting in so many books.I am ok with slangs and even Hinglish, but I wish, the focus is on quality writing. The glaring spelling and grammatical errors along with poor sentence construction and structure is very disappointing!

  7. Wow. another great review Shilpa! I get so many good tips for books to read through your reviews, and I feel they are always honest. I was intrigued by this one – twists in the story and learning more about punjab – attracted me.

    • Thank you Eli for your kind words. yes, the book gives a good understanding of Punjab and its culture along with a novel story. Go for it, Eli 🙂

  8. Hey, love your review, it gives the envy to grab the book… will book mark it..years ago, Tinnu Anand launched a movie on the same lines with Amitabh Bachchan and Madhuri, Big B playing a scientist losing his memory and mads a young student in love with him, helping him to gain his memory. Sadly, the movies Sanakhat got shelved.

  9. The review is nice. But I felt the fiction lost the tempo towards the end.
    By the way, don’t you think that a correction needs to be made in the birthdate of Author?

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