It is about a Gujarati grocery store owner Chimanbhai Shah, who has the quintessential Gujarati wife but dreams about his childhood sweetheart, and two ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) kids. Until a young woman named Supriya opens a store in the same neighbourhood. Then all hell breaks loose. Supriya takes away their clientele, by flirting with customers and offering better products. The Shahs decide to “kill off the competition”.
They turn to Osmanbhai, a Mumbai mafioso (hence the title pun on “supari”) who dreams of becoming the Godfather in “Amrika”. They also hire two locals to finish the job. Dean and Elmore are petty criminals who will do the job in exchange for food, shelter and $65. But one of them falls for Shah’s daughter Maya, while the other, bizarrely, falls for the target, Supriya! Meanwhile, Shah’s son wants to prove that he’s not just a geek, so he too comes up with ways to finish Supriya off.
Lakhe tries and sometimes manages to be humorous — especially in scenes featuring Osmanbhai. But all the characters seem familiar, stock figures. To be fair, Lakhe first wrote this story as a screenplay — so readers shouldn’t be surprised if theyzfeel as if they have just seen a Bollywood movie rather than read a book.
THE BETELNUT KILLERS
Author: Manisha Lakhe
Publisher: Random House
Price: Rs 250