What’s Bibhutibhushan Malik’s Final Storyboard all about?:
Bibhutibhushan is an art director working for a now very famous Indian film director but he has always been keen to break away from his friend an develop and produce his own film. There’s only one problem – he’s in love with the director’s wife.
What did I think?:
I Am An Executioner is without a doubt one of my favourite books in my short stories challenge and I was excited to read the next story in the collection, especially one with such an intriguing title. For the most part, I was delighted with it although I have to admit I was disappointed with the ending, which if done differently might have led to me giving this story the full five stars. Our narrator for this outing is the Bibhutibhushan Malik of the title who has been the production designer for all of popular Indian director Jogesh Sen’s films and, as we find out, has known him well before his current days of dizzying fame and fortune.
However, Malik has two secrets. First, he longs to write his own screenplay and has been beavering away for the last two years on an idea which has recently been taken up by an independent film director in New York. Secondly, he has been having an affair with Sen’s wife, Nirmala for the past two years. Malik is so secure in his perceived abilities and talents that he tells Nirmala that she will be able to leave her husband and be with him very soon as his picture is sure to be a roaring success and he will be able to keep her in the state that she has become accustomed to.
Malik’s super-confidence knows no boundaries and he boasts to the reader countless times on how Sen would be nothing without him and it is his beautiful designs and ideas that make the films as successful as they are. Of course, the reader must trust him as we don’t know any different. It is only after Malik gets his opportunity to shine that we begin to realise that perhaps he isn’t as great as he thinks he is? Nevertheless, I did find myself feeling terribly sorry for him as things begin to unravel and his (deluded) little bubble is well and truly popped.
It’s only as I’m writing this review that I’m starting to realise how clever this story actually is. I completely bought into the romance between Malik and Nirmala (even if it is a naughty little affair) and found myself analysing everything and everyone through his eyes. What the author does next is nothing short of brilliant – things are turned completely on their head and you begin to question what you previously thought was true. I love stories that trick me in this manner, challenge me and then make me want to start again with my newly acquired information! I do think the ending could have been a little snappier and had the potential to be phenomenal but this is still one of my favourite stories of the collection.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):
NEXT SHORT STORY: The Jesus Stories by Kevin Brockmeier from the collection Things That Fall From The Sky