This review covers the four stories of Jasoosi Duniya Issue #2 – Faridi aur Leonard, Pur Asrar KuwaaN, Khatarnak Boodha and Masnooyi Naak.
This issue had two issues – it has two most notorious villains of Jasoosi Duniya, and two most dull, boring and bizarre plots. Yep, Leonard and Jabar, I don’t like these stories. Never have and never will. Now that I am reading ’em in sequence, it is a respite to see these were his earlier works and his storytelling skills were not as polished. No, I think that statement isn’t valid. Maut Ki Aandhi was issue 5 and that was one killer story. Similarly issue 5 of Imran Series was Shikral adventure and that’s one of the best works by the author. Oh, I want to read that again but I can’t, until I finish Jasoosi Duniya. Awnnn!
It would be best to not delve too much into why I don’t like these stories. Let’s begin with the review, shall we?
Faridi aur Leonard
The story opens in CBI office. The superintendent Jackson has just recovered from some mouth infection and is back to work. He is meeting every employee. Hmmm, wonder why that is.
Jackson tells Faridi about the infamous black mailer Leonard who is popular in Europe and has now set his headquarters in India. Faridi informs him that he has suspected that already by looking at advertisement in a local newspaper. Apparently, the ads are for entertainment purposes but Faridi senses trouble. The man is so freaking observant.
Faridi goes to meet the editor of the newspaper. Interestingly enough, he runs into the guy who is there to put up an ad for a driver. In reality, he brings blackmail letters to be published in the newspaper. Faridi isn’t fooled. He pretends to be unconscious just like Adnan and steals the ad copy.
Hameed meets Adnan for the driver’s job. Instead, he gets a morphed photo in which Faridi is kissing district magistrate wife. It surprised me, in that ra was it so quick and easy to morph a photo and print it?
Enters Ghazala, one of the victims of blackmail. She seems genuine but is kidnapped before Faridi could gather proofs if she’s speaking the truth.
Faridi talks to Jackson about quitting the case, as he doesn’t want to be involved in anything to deal with Leonard.
And then begins the real investigation.
Faridi manages to capture Adnan but cannot find Ghazala. After a series of interesting events, Faridi finds Ghazala and a certain someone who’s kidnapped and Leonard is playing the part.
We have seen Hameed act like mad man in many stories. This is the first time it happened and it was Faridi who acted. It wasn’t as fun but did help the plot.
New character introduced:
Ghazala and Nawab Rasheed Zaman
On a side note:
This story reveals one of Faridi’s quirks that he walks on toes to not disturb others. I wish people around me were as considerate.
Pur Asrar KuwaaN
Nawab Rasheed Zamaan and Ghazala make another appearance as this case deals with another problem the father daughter duo faces. This time around Faridi visits them and spends a few days with them. The romance angle is a small subplot and a very annoying one as Faridi struggle to flirt / romance Ghazala.
They hear strange voices emitting from every wall and they see random fireworks. The obvious suspect is Nawab’s friend Tariq.
There is Nawab’s stepbrother Parwez, who had a head injury and started behaving like a toddler. There are three servants to look after him alone.
When things get out of hand, Ghazala seeks outside help. Faridi, of course.
New character: Tariq
The whole show was setup by someone inside the house. It was again the whole step sibling rivalry and greed for inheriting the properties.
There are some scenes where Shahnaz makes a brief appearance. Hameed is charming, really. And that couple is cute.
I don’t hate the story but I don’t love it either
One reason to not like it was Ghazala. The first time I had read this one, I was in ninth grade and had already read other Faridi stories. I had an image of a man who would never ever succumb to the thing called love. U felt that emotions would make him weak and dumb. It did make him weak and dumb.
I cringed every time I read this and I really wanted to contact the author and tell him that please don’t do this. I found out much later that he had passed away even before I was born. His writing, his observations are still relevant even after 67 years. That’s something.
Right, I need to move on to the next story.
The story begins in the recreation room of s hotel where a Spanish dancer is performing and three men meet for the first time. Soon, the young man named Shahid dies. The body is found in front of Faridi’s bungalow. Yes, he has a bungalow. He has inherited riches from his father. His salary is very small for his lifestyle. He says that it is not mirgi case but nobody pays heed.
After 3 days a similar body is found and the postmortem report is exactly the same. The civil police give up and the case is transferred to CBI. Faridi runs into an old criminal and forms allies with him. The third case of poisoning happens in front of Faridi. He’s able to save his life but the victim loses his mind forever. The guy who had poisoned him was left with a sub-inspector Rasheed. However, Rasheed says that Faridi himself had come back to take him into custody. The hotel room of suspect is also set ablaze.
There is a professor Naseer, his niece Ruqaiyya and his nephew. Though we know who’s the culprit here, catching them proves to be a challenge, as they are always a step ahead of Faridi.
The story starts out well. I particularly like the story about the poison, how it works and how it’s effect can be reversed. I love African stories; it is such a fantasy land.
Hameed helps to speed up the investigation, indirectly, by convincing Ruqaiyya that Faridi really likes her. Ruqaiyya tells everything that she knows, including the identity of the gang leader. Faridi comes up with a game plan. That was also one of the entertaining scenes.
But there are just so many complications and failures that I started to lose interest. I mean I am reading to see the good triumph over the evil, not to see how kickass the bad man is.
Masnooyi Naak is a continuition of Khatarnaak Boodha. It starts in the mountains of Ram Gadh. Faridi and Hameed are enjoying the scenic beauty of narrow roads on donkeys. It is a perfect opening, as Faridi teases Hameed nonstop and Hameed comes up with wittiest replies, only to be trumped by Faridi again. So, Faridi’s adventure is to tease Hameed.
But the trip isn’t just to torture Hameed. There have been incidents to imply that Jabar is operating from Ram Gadh.
Faridi meets Mathur and starts meeting people to investigate the murder of a Nawab Shakir who died because of poisoning. He meets his friends and family.
There is prince Zafar Ali Khan, Saeeda – Nawab Shakir’s cousin, Ghazala and Nawab Rasheed Zamaan who are related to Saeeda and an age-old animosity between Nawab Rasheed and Jabar; Lieutenant Baqar – Saeeda’s another cousin.
The story takes the most bizarre turns as Jabar is always a step ahead of Faridi. He carries out the most awful things with Ghazala, Nawab Rasheed and Tariq. He stripes them down to nothing and asks them to give incriminating notes.
Here are some of Jabar’s quirks, which, even in the context of the story seemed bizarre and absurd.
Faridi does capture him, though. During a court hearing, Faridi provides his full report. Jabar admits to everything that he had done and kills himself.
Tain Tain Fish!
Most absurd and random writing by Ibn-e-safi.
Although Jabar is considered one of the most difficuly antagonist Faridi ever dealt with, the story was so out of rhythm. And everytime I started to relax a bit, that Faridi is finally rescuing his love-interest and his would-be-in-laws (eheheh); it turns out that it is Jabar disguising as Faridi. Ufff.
In one place, there is one sentence, “Faridi ne apne ko chhupa liya…”
Safi was a man with good control over words. Seeing that sentence and other similar ones in the story, makes me wonder if it was indeed Safi who penned the story.
And that scene where Jabar, as Faridi, asks everybody to strip naked – what was that about?
The only thing that made this book so famous, in my opinion, was that Jabar had no nose.
On a side note:
SP Mathur of Ram Gadh and Dilkusha hotel first appear in this one.
I liked the first story Faridi aur Leonard. The other three, though had interesting bits, did not excite me as much in totality. That is why, I use the below paragraph in most of my reviews of Safi’s books.
Irrespecive of the title, and what rating I give, I love his work.
Ibn-e-safi, the person who introduced me to the world of suspense and thriller at young age of six (ish).Growing up, it was a challenge to get hold of his books. Thanks to the people who put a lot of effort to digitize all his books.
In past three years, I have read all his 150+ books, Imran Series and Jasoosi Duniya, at least once in a quarter. Yes, that is how much I like his work. Sue me, if it is wrong.
In retrospect, I think that since these were the initial few stories, Safi was experimenting different themes, subplots like romance and characters like Tariq. When he realized that the romance angle isn’t working, he got rid of Ghazala and Shahnaz. Good call, sir!
That concludes the review for issue 2 of Jasoosi Duniya Series. What do others feels about this one?
I will take a couple of week’s break before reviewing the next issue.