Book Review | KHOONI BADAL | Akram Allahabadi

Non-Review Rant

A Goodreads friend suggested Akram Allahabadi and I said why not. I randomly picked this one because it promised to be on the same theme that I have been working on as my first attempt at writing mystery / suspense.


Plot Summary

A top government official is brining top secret papers and it gets blown mid-air. The real copy of those papers is brought by another officer Colonel Butt. Then, there is some top-secret excavation for Uranium in mountain area.

Inspector Sadiq and his assistant Sergeant Jacob begin the investigation. Colonel Butt is killed. Jacob is abducted and Sadiq finds him at Dr Nigam. He’s also killed. The killer cloud destroys one colony entirely.

Long story short, some international spies were trying to


The scenes are very elaborate focussing more on the characters and their rants than the situation at hand, that is, the mystery. Some lines stand out as funny but don’t fit in the overall narrative which is too descriptive and oft boring.

The geography didn’t make sense. Ibn-e-Safi relied on fictitious places so I never questioned it. But this story was set in Trivandrum (Kerala, South India) which was adjacent to Nanga Parbat (Himalaya, North India). Fictitious names would have made the reading experience much better.

The science was not explained much. Ajeeb si machine, bahot se taar… these terms are not enough to tell the reader what kind of shit the heroes are dealing with.

The romance angle was quite abrupt and did not have enough build-up. There was no tension between Sadiq and Najmi and yet they were engaged at the end. Meh!

I also noticed that some words were not used correctly. For example, I have never seen zinda-dili used in this context.

In some cases, readers are expected to interprete the situations differently. In the screenshot below, Sadiq is only being polite but Najmi says: aap bahot hazir jawab hain.

It doesn’t quite add up.

Akram Allahabadi vs Ibn-e-Safi

Ibn-e-Safi has influenced more people that we can possibly know. Akram Saheb is from the same city – Allahabad and his work is primarily in the same genre. The writing style is different, doesn’t feel like Akram Saheb is copying anybody. But it is missing the rawani, the fluency that Ibn-e-Safi has. The characters remind of Faridi and Hameed but I guess after reading Ibn-e-Safi, every other character seems flawed and repetitive and copied.

Overall, a nice read but not something that I would recommend.

Let’s face it. Ibn-e-Safi made me fall in love with Urdu fiction. No other author can take his place.

Shabana Mukhtar

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