Two childhood friends living together, disappointed with the failures in life, decide to rob a bank in an inebriated state. This could be a punchline for a thriller Bollywood/Hollywood movie. Author Vish Dhamija, through his book “Prisoner’s Dilemma”, has sketched a compelling plot.
Three friends – Bipin, Anuj and Mansi- inseparable from childhood steps into their puberty. The boys nourish romantic dreams about the girl. As much as it sounds like a cliche, the plot introduces the scenario in a unique narrative. Without any melodramatic sequences, when the news of the courtship between Mansi and Anuj is dropped, the plotline comes across as natural and relatable. Moreover, the romance eventually becomes instrumental in deciding the final twist in the plot.
Among the unrealistically brave and goody-two-shoes protagonists seen these days, Vish Dhamija’s characters are crafted with finesse. Each character has several shades which are exploited deftly by the author. However, Mansi’s character could have been given more space to develop. Nonetheless, because the book is written from Bipin’s point of view, Mansi’s character is naturally pushed aside.
Arfy Khan is yet another character. As out of the world as it seems, if zoomed into the larger crowd, people, rather policemen with a similar demeanour can be easily identified.
The plot takes off with Bipin in an interrogation cell with a state-arranged advocate who has never made any lump sum in his career. With an undeniable offer from Bipin, he decides to help him out of the way. Bipin is arrested within days after the heist (not a bank robbery). When Arfy Khan claims time and again that Anuj and his lawyer are nearly on terms with him in return for reduced sentence readers are left to guess if Anuj is present or not. This prisoner’s dilemma eventually transposes into the reader’s dilemma.
Intermittent scenarios of the plot largely paint the scenes that resemble movies but the drawbacks of the crime carried out by amateurs are visible on the canvas. Inspired by real-life incidents the author provided the readers with a close-to-life scenario. Disappointment with failures, lack of decisive ability, impulsive action – every aspect of an average youth is portrayed in the book.
Vish Dhamija is the bestselling author of ten works of crime fiction, including Unlawful Justice, Bhendi Bazaar, The Mogul, The Heist Artist, and Doosra. He is frequently referred to in the Indian press as the ‘master of crime and courtroom drama. In August 2015, after the release of his first legal thriller, Déjà Karma, Glimpse magazine called him ‘India’s John Grisham’ for stimulating the genre of legal fiction in India. Vish lives in London with his wife, Nidhi.