Chhotu by Varud Gupta and Ayushi Rastogi is a graphic novel set during the India-Pakistan partition. As the title suggests, it’s about an orphan boy Chhotu, who falls in love with a classmate and attempts to solve a case of disappearing potatoes on the sides.
The story is part satirical, part pop-culture overload. Despite being set in the 1940s, it has a lot of 90s Bollywood references, with even a Harry Potter phrase thrown in somewhere. All of that makes the story-telling quite chaotic. The writers probably thought it would make it more relatable to modern readers, but come across as “trying too hard”.
I expected an earnest tale like “Munnu”, a graphic novel by another Indian writer, that was a beautiful book about growing up in Kashmir. Guess it’s an unfortunate case of ‘expectation vs reality’ for me, but I didn’t enjoy the book very much. Might be a fun read for younger bibliophiles. It’s a 2.5/5 for me.