Sunil amidst pandemonium in London

Hindi novelist – Surendra Mohan Pathak’s crime reporter hero – Sunil Kumar Chakravarty has appeared in certain of his ventures as a spy also who works for a Govt. of India department – Special Intelligence which is a branch of C.I.B., following the instructions of its head – Colonel Mukherjee who keeps on sending him on different spying missions. Mr. Pathak has written some very interesting novels in this genre. Today I am reviewing one of them, titled as London Mein Hungama (pandemonium in London) which shows Sunil’s spying activities in London involving his journalist colleagues also who are posted at the London office of the newspaper (Blast).925664237sIn London Mein Hungama, Colonel Mukherjee assigns Sunil the job of locating Professor Jagat Naarayan Bhatnagar, a prominent Indian scientist who has gone missing quite mysteriously. A picture postcard that has come from London, hints that he is perhaps in London. Sunil is told that Professor Bhatnagar had designed a very sophisticated submarine while working as the head of National Research Laboratory under the Ministry of Defense. Thus he is made to understand that due to Professor Bhatnagar’s invention, some enemy country might have kidnapped him. The picture postcard that has come from London is the only clue to begin from. Further, Professor Bhatnagar’s daughter – Preeti who is his the only child, is also in London but her address is not known. Hence Sunil has to proceed for London.

In London, Sunil resides with his friends and colleagues (posted at London) – Jagtaar Singh, a jovial and romantic Sikh and Rama Rao, a South Indian intellectual. He approaches Royal Nuclear Research Centre because that picture postcard had been sent at the address of Professor Bhatnagar in India by the director of Royal Nuclear Research Centre – Dr. Oliver Reed. However the secretary of Dr. Reed – Ms. Kelly O’ Brian does not allow him to meet Dr. Reed and instead, calls him to meet her privately. Thereafter the chain of events advances in such a way that Ms. O’ Brian is murdered and the Chinese spies at London go after Sunil. After several twists and turns in the story, though Sunil is not able to bring Professor Bhatnagar back (because Professor Bhatnagar dies) but he is able to get the technical papers related to Professor Bhatnagar’s research work (linked to the submarine that he had designed). In the thrilling chain of events, Sunil gets the daredevil support of his colleagues (who know him as their fellow reporter only and not as a spy) and with their help only, his mission bears fruit.

London Mein Hungama is a damn interesting novel describing various places of London and the blows and counter-blows between the spies of different nations, i.e., Sunil and the Chinese spies. The novel is small with very less number of pages but the narrative has been spread by the author on a very large canvas. There is a lot of thrill in the novel with a suspense element also in the climax which is action-packed in its final phase. The storyline moves with all its twists and turns quite fast and the author has shown no laxity anywhere. There are patriotic sentiments too in the novel and a lot of humour as well (through the character of Jagtaar Singh). It renders a mesmerizing reading for sure.

This novel had been written in 1969 (the year of my birth), i.e., 48 years back but still gives a fresh feeling and it is quite satisfactory for the readers of spying stuff. The high humour quotient of the novel renders it a repeat value also and it can be read many times to enjoy the humour mixed with the thrill. Mr. Pathak never gave it a serious thought to write for movies, else in that period (late sixties and early seventies), a lot of spying movies were made in Bollywood and this novel is a perfect script for making such a movie.

London Mein Hungama is not a great novel. However it is a very interesting spying novel under the popular Sunil Series of the author. Getting a copy of this very old novel is not easy but if a Hindi reader is able to get one, it will prove to be a big treat for him. The reader can become a part of the pandemonium taking place in London, move with the hero – Sunil and enjoy the thrill and humour served to him by the legendary Hindi author.

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About Jitendra Mathur

A Chartered Accountant with literary passion and a fondness for fine arts
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