Jan 25, 2024, 18:50 IST

Roopam Kapoor's Book Hour of the Hounds Becomes Talk of Town

Roopam Kapoor's Book Hour of the Hounds Becomes Talk of Town

‘Hour of the Hounds,’ a fictional crime thriller penned by Roopam Kapoor, has been holding steady on the charts. The book has been viewed in varied perspectives by the reading audience.

Roopam Kapoor, a Senior Officer in Customs and Indirect Taxes, with a background in English Literature - a unique combination, has seamlessly blended his bureaucratic expertise with his literary flair to deliver a compelling tale set against the backdrop of the underworld dominance in the early 1990s. “There are not many bureaucrats with an English Literature background. But then those who are there never forget that when they chose to pursue Literature, they always wanted to be either copywriters, newspaper reporters, or editors. And some of them of course, always aspired to be writers. The dreams don’t die, despite James Bond saying, ‘Dreams die first’. Bureaucracy was an aspiration arising out of a challenge for achievement. The novel is an exploration of those achievements coupled with the individualistic ideals and learnings picked up along the way,” avers Roopam Kapoor.

Interestingly, the book was shared with a select group of people for blind readings before it was made available to the world, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The author felt particularly happy when his proofreader found it to be thoroughly engaging! Roopam Kapoor reflects on the unexpected success, sharing ecstatically, “The book took more than a decade to come out, and the butterflies are always there when you see your dream manifesting itself. One always hopes for a successful book, but it always surprises you when it actually goes up the charts - especially when it’s a debut novel.”

The novel, published by Rupa Publications, unfolds against the backdrop of the early 1990s when the underworld held sway over every facet of life. Although primarily a work of fiction, with no real-life significance to the events, the book draws from the author’s life in the civil service. The story follows Prakash, a novice customs officer, who is abruptly transferred to Dapoli, a remote station on the west coast of India. In a twist of fate, Prakash becomes entangled with Salim, a ruthless underworld don and smuggler operating from Dubai. As Prakash thwarts Salim's operations, a formidable alliance known as the 'Howling Hounds' emerges, comprised of Prakash's college crush Shelley, the upright police officer Kabir, and a few loyal lieutenants. Salim’s actress girlfriend, Shabnam, infatuated by Prakash’s ideals, also breaks rank when she learns Salim has a role to play in the Bombay blasts and crosses over to the side of the ‘Howling Hounds'.  Together, they set out to dismantle Salim's criminal empire, creating a narrative that weaves love, vengeance, and justice. An intensely pleasant and victorious life is utopian. So, if a person can have an hour of pure intensity, it can often last a lifetime. The hounds have that hour of victory over Salim — their moment of immortality, so the name ‘Hour of the Hounds.’

Would he wish for his work of art to be viewed on celluloid? Roopam Kapoor imparts, “Depends. Some works of art are best left in the written word. Sometimes the visual media may not be able to really draw upon the thoughts of the writer. But yes, the book being more realistic than most of the thrillers in its genre on the screen, I would love to see a realistic adaptation wherein the work being done by Indian Customs in its fields of checking smuggling, narcotics, arms, etc. is brought to the viewing audience in an engaging and gripping manner.” To this, we say touché!

Yours is to check out ‘Hour of the Hounds’ available on all the leading e-commerce platforms, at a bookstore near you, and all major Indian airports.