Love in the Age of Femina
G. Sampath
MILA IN LOVE by Dina Mehta Penguin Books, Delhi, 2004, 267 pp., 295.00
March 2004, volume 28, No 3

Dina Mehta’s Mila in Love is a “cute” novel that wants to be more than a cute novel. Result: A novel with an identity crisis. This novel is an M&B romance, but meant not so much for the inexperienced teenybopper, as for the Femina woman of substance. Written in prose that is clever, crisp, and, at places, witty, it has a been-there-done-that kind of tone—much like the narrator-protagonist, who isn’t easily impressed by anything or anyone except for a tall, dark, handsome Prince Charming—“a Punjabi-Parsi hunk”—who also happens to be in love with her mother. This novel sets out to be a bildungsroman—tracing the growing up into adulthood of an elite, upper class Mumbai teenager—but it falls short. For some strange reason. Mehta shies away from exploring the deep, dark seas that lie beyond the shallow waters of a predictable kind of psychological realism. While this does not adversely affect the narrative, it makes this novel feel strangely light.

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