A Crack in the Rainbow
Badrinath Nuggehalli

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Advertising, as a wit once said, is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Shiv Raman, chairman of iconic ad agency Plexus, is fighting a hostile takeover war against global media magnate Marv Zimmerman. Meanwhile, Arunav “Art” Kumar and Sarosh Alexander, two live-wire senior executives in Plexus with vastly different backgrounds, are in a race for the CEO’s job. Life in Plexus is tumultuous and bohemian. Intense competition for blue-chip clients, flighty ad campaigns, creative use of digital technology, glitz and glamour – all are everyday affairs in Plexus.

Enter a TV dance competition called the Nach Premier League. Plexus is assigned the task of advertising NPL. Behind NPL is a scheme hatched by sleazy politicians to launder Rs 8,000 crores of black money via Mauritius. The master-mind is Shankar Bhan, a central government minister, operating through Art Kumar’s uncle, Bhringi Dev, MLA from Bihar.

Personal relationships add whole new dimensions to the scene.

Art Kumar finds true love with Farida Munnawar but sad realities hang over the lovers. Glamorous Laila Pestonjee falls for the inquisitive little boy hidden under Sarosh Alexander’s wild, macho façade. Shiv Raman, the Plexus chairman, sees shades of his dead son reflected in Sarosh, who remains blissfully ignorant of his boss’s feelings. Art’s life-moves are dictated by his uncle, the crafty MLA Bhringi Dev. Nirmal Murarka, an Enforcement Directorate sleuth, doggedly tracks his prey convinced that no man, however powerful, can rise beyond the web of human relationships. Shankar Bhan, the powerful minister and mastermind of the money-laundering scam, flies into an uncontrollable rage and destroys everything when confronted by live evidence of his son’s sexual orientation.

Events set in motion by Art Kumar and Sarosh Alexander unleash forces that spin out of their control. The climax at the end catches them both by surprise. Who is good and who is evil – who is to judge?

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Reviews by the community

Nov 01 '14

R Sunder

The first 3 chapters have set a cracking pace, with a heady mix of manipulative politics - corporate and the real variety - new age advertising, young India's global aspirations and the 2 things that get India going - cricket and Bollywood. Not to forget women and wine, with just the right dash of sex - not in your face, but very subtle, not the central theme but well interwoven into the overall milieu of the modern ad world.
The introductions of the central characters - Santosh, Laila and Art - are done smoothly and fit in well into the overall story, truly believable and crisply described without disturbing the pace and tempo of the narrative. The piece de resistance is the way the author has very vividly and entirely credibly depicted the metamorphosis of Shiv Kumar from a middle-class S.Indian to the golf-playing Czar of the brave new era.
Add to this those little dashes of humour - the N.Indian way of pronouncing Raman or the wholly Indian English gaffe of "sponsorer" - and the author has piqued this reader's attention and whetted his appetite for more.
Given the way the author drools over the gastronomic offerings, one can wholeheartedly say that the "starters" have more than tickled our palate, as we wait eagerly for the main course and the dessert.

Jul 31 '14

Hetika Sanghani

A very intelligent book....the thought process behind the book is brilliant...the brainchild behind "Art"'s character is very well written...The book just requires some editing as in some parts it becomes a lil boring and you have to scape through...bt good job!! definitely want to read further...

Jul 28 '14

Preeti Chakravarti

A really interesting beginning to the story.. waiting to see what follows!

Jul 21 '14

Preetha Kesari

Loved this book-fast paced, action packed and written in excellent English as usual.
His previous book was great too. This guy is someone to watch.

Jul 08 '14


Captures the intricacies and the mad mad rush of the advertising world very well. Loved the characterisattion of Shiv

Jul 04 '14

Sanjana Parikh

The story does not have a catchy beginning and it seems to be going on very slowly. I couldn't finish the second chapter. A lot of things have been stretched and that might be the culprit. However, the storyline is good and it has potential.

Jun 14 '14

Anokhee Parikh

Slow! Couldn't even get through the first 2 chapters...

Jun 04 '14

About the author

Badrinath Nuggehalli Follow

Educated at Lawrence School, Lovedale; BITS, Pilani and IIM, Bangalore, I took up advertising and market research to pay my bills and writing stories to keep my life juices flowing. My novel "Clear Line of Fire" (a thriller) is published by Rupa.