Piku & Viru is the debut novel of Priyanka Agarwal. As the tagline says, ‘A Fan-Actor Drama’, indeed the story of the novel revolves around a fan and her celebrity crush. We often come across romance novels where either one-sided or two-sided affairs take place. However, a common ‘somebody’ going after a celebrity and forming interesting conflict of interests is something rarity. By all means, it is a romance novel in which one of the partner struggles way harder than the other.
The story is staged against the charming hubbub of Mumbai. It is a long story, so you need to settle down comfortably while getting moved along with the brisk pace of the novel. In our opinion, the author has deliberately given low weightage to female protagonist Piyanjali aka Piku as compared to Vian Rustom aka Viru. Probably, she had in mind that the story is between two very uncommon people. A simple girl trying to snatch a piece of pie from the glamorous world. We heard people falling and chasing each other in love, but where do we see a celebrity on the brink of love with a common being.
The lead character Piku works as an unhappy travel content writer with a leading travel website cum magazine of India. Instead of Singapore, she is sent to Balaji temple in Triputi where a theft leaves her in lurch and her days in office gets murkier. Initially, we see that the character of Piku is much indulged into herself i.e. her office life, her relationship sweeps with Homi, and her trysts on dating Apps. She is unmarried and that’s big question worrying her parents, including herself. However, she is looking for a perfect kind of a partner, though she is a normal beauty with a mediocre job and middle-class family. Well, it is a human tendency to look for higher goals without caring for anything. As a matter of fact, all these aspects make her characterization strong and pivotal for the overall development of the novel.
The second main character of the book is Vian Rustom, also known as Viru. He is a rising TV actor, currently working in many hit TV soaps. He is self-obsessed or say mean, as most of the glamorus people are. But still Piku, as his fan, loves him. After chasing him here and there for almost a year, they meet in an event and from there on their friendship blossoms. Piku is aware of her status and surroundings but the deep desire to have him as her life partner keeps disturbing, yet alive, her. They often meet at the sets while shooting, Viru begins mentoring her for scriptwriting/film writing and thinks that Piku is a useful resource for him. Viru himself has some personal projects. Does it mean that he is looking someone to help him? May be?
With Piku there is an angelic voice of ‘H’. He guides her in her chase. Their conflict is also worth watching. One side of Piku’s heart says that she is heading for heartbreak, but still a sense of optimism says otherwise. Many romantic novels either end at meeting or heartbreak, but this is one nice story that goes well beyond that and the kind of twists and turns we see later are for sure going to delight your heart.
Without giving away much, we can say that after one point Piku – the lead character – seems unstoppable. But why and how? Was it due to heartbreak, or love for that celebrity, or revenge, or something else? You need to find out your reason.
Other than the subplots and twists, it is Priyanka Agarwal’s writing style with good dose of humour and wit that will keep you hooked till the very end. Though you may feel that the story is long for no very specific reason and could have been a bit short but that’s alright as the author took her time to build characters and their allied idiosyncrasies and settings and sweeps.