Book Review of Dancing with Demons by Nidhie Sharma


Nidhie Sharma

Dancing with Demons is a unique book with a different concept. Lets have a look at it thoroughly :

Cover- The color scheme of the book is blue and black. It has a boxing field and down there is couple who seems to be standing on the road. The cover of the book gives us the glimpse of the novel.

Title- Dancing with Demons is the title and I feel it perfectly suits the book as the characters fight with their inner demons and the way they struggle to overcome them is being shown here.

Blurb-Karan Pratap Singh is on the brink of winning the Amateur Boxing Championship, when in a moment, he loses it all. His fall from glory seems fuelled by ruthless arrogance and an out-of-control anger management problem. That, however is just symptomatic of a deeper issue. Buried under layers of his fractured subconscious lies a childhood secret he cannot come to terms with.

Sonia Kapoor is a beautiful, volatile young woman with a secret that torments her at night but a secret that she feels no guilt for.

When fate throws Karan and Sonia together in Mumbai, their personal demons and pasts collide and stir up trouble in their fragile and uncertain present. But, is redemption possible without forgiveness?

Dancing with Demons is a fast-paced action drama of love, loss and resurrection.

Plot- The plot is simple yet complicated. The two protagonists’ stories start in the middle of nowhere. When mysterious Sonia KApoor starts staying at Karan Pratap Singh’s things take a turn. Both face the hurdles of the life and sooner or later they start developing feelings for each other. But the demons and their dark past stops them to come close. When their past starts coming in their present things take a different road. The plot construction is crisp and to the point. There was no digression.

Characterization- The art of characterization is phenomenal. I really loved Karan and Sonia’s character. Sonia is a round character who changes her behavior according to the situation. She is mysterious lady with a dark past.  Her actions speak louder than words and the way she handles the shopkeeper and other goons is breathtaking. When she falls for Karan she waits for him to return to her. She silently prays for his victory.

Karan Pratap Singh is the heart throb of every girl whose image almost fades after the fight and his rude attitude. The ban makes his life more miserable. Slowly he tries to collect the broken pieces of his life but sooner or later he comes across more and more of mess. Sonia’s entry in Karan’s life brings a change in him though he never acknowledged her. he tried hard to become as hard as rock but the soft corner in his heart makes him fall for her. But he is unable to confess her as her past creates lots of issues in their lives. He tries hard to mend the things and always stuggles with his demons.

Theme- The main theme is of Guru Shishya. Karan and Jerry were really close. When Karan messed up at the field Jerry was extremely hurt. He felt as if all his struggle to make this boy a champion went in vane. he disconnected himself with KAran till his ban. Karan worked hard to get back his trust. This side of the novel is innocent and nostalgic.

The other theme is of love. Karan and Sonia fall for each other but their bitter pasts never let them come close. Though they went through trials and tribulations yet they were inseparable.

STyle- The novel is written in third person narrative. The poetic diction on the book serves as an icing on the cake.  Further, the way this story is delineated is impeccable. Moreover, The variety of sentences brings positive vibes. The paper quality is amazing.


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The Book Club introduces Nidhie Sharma to you
1. Tell us a little bit about your background. When did you start writing?
My journey into the world of storytelling began way before I graduated with honours in English literature and was offered scholarship by the university. The early formative years took me into the world of the Panchatantra and classic English literature while I also watched my mother paint. At the same time, I got introduced to the joys of adventure sports too since my father was in the Armed forces. On hindsight, I think these early influences shaped my storytelling ability, albeit in a visual way.
I read voraciously through my teenage years and graduated to Booker prize winning novels quickly. I think reading good literature is hugely instrumental in widening mental horizons and giving the reader an ability to comprehend complex characters, their emotional and physical graphs, along with a unique insight into the geo-political landscape of the times the novel is set in. All of this is a fantastic bedrock and training ground for good writing.
I started experimenting with poetry and short stories initially, and a lot of the early writing during my childhood happened under the open sky in my garden, lying on the grass, dreaming about heroes, action and adventure.
At the age of twelve, I had written what might now be called a Novella. It was about the daily exploits of a girl and her group of friends and how they explored a new part of the nearby jungle every day, in search of wild animals, thrills, and adventure. It was autobiographical of course and my delighted parents had it printed and bound into a small book. They treasure it to this day.
Studying English literature in college helped me enormously in comprehending and interpreting works of literature and soon after, I started to write book reviews for national newspapers. I also wrote short stories every single day during those college years and I think that has helped me hone my craft.
I realize now that writing a drama set in the world of combat sports, which most critics have called visual and action packed, is no accident. Dancing with Demons is a sum total of all my early influences and experiences.
2. How would you describe your book Dancing with Demons? What prompted you to write a book on boxing?
‘Dancing with Demons’ is a gripping romance drama set against the backdrop of combat sports in India. It is the story of two fallen souls who must vanquish their inner demons to become the people they were destined to be. When the story begins, Karan Pratap Singh, an  angst-ridden boxer and the mysterious and volatile Sonia Kapoor are angry and emotionally damaged by their pasts and when fate throws them together in Mumbai, their personal demons and pasts collide and stir trouble in their fragile and uncertain present. “It was some night. Thunder and lightning playing, chasing one another like two furtive, carefree lovers, oblivious to the havoc they were wrecking. Sonia put her hand out of the window as the bus started to hurtle down the highway, to Mumbai. A sliver of lightning fell on the trees just ahead of them, setting a large bush on fire. Then thunder roared again… Perhaps this was an appropriate setting for what was to follow…two tumultuous lives on a head-on collision course.”
This book explores if redemption is possible without forgiveness and also delves into the depth and unsaid connection that Karan and Sonia have with each other. In fact, Sonia’s poems in the novel throw light not only on self-love and forgiveness but also on the passionate and intense relationship that these two anti-heroes share.
“I know I’m not easy to love
On somedays there’s no God above
And maybe it’s a messed up world
Into which we have been hurled
And maybe I remind you of you
So Love yourself darling, to love me too”
Overcoming one’s limitations or demons is essential in order to fulfill one’s true potential. That is the real core of this story. The good thing is, millions of people find a way to battle and overcome their inner demons. So there is hope for everyone and ‘Dancing with Demons’ is about that hope. It’s about the light at the end of the tunnel.
This novel is a fast-paced story of love, loss and resurrection for both Karan and Sonia.  
3. What prompted you to write a book on boxing?
I was brought up in an army background that exposes you to adventure and the outdoors very early on. Having studied in various army schools across India, I trained in karate, horse-riding and attended adventure camps. Camping, trekking, hiking along with all the unforgettable misadventures shaped my love for the outdoors.
As a teenager, I watched live boxing matches as well. They fascinated me no end. Two men beating the hell out of each other while spectators egged them on. I noticed that every time a boxer bled in the ring, the audience cheered even louder. Human reaction to violence only shows how deep and primal that instinct is and this totally fascinated me back then. I started to watch boxing championships on the internet. Soon I was following the sport like a fan and started going for the big fights to Madison square garden while I was studying filmmaking in New York. I met boxers and coaches out of curiosity and interest. I spent time inside boxing gyms and also started to train and spar.
Personally, I love the raw athleticism in this sport and the fact that it is a skillful craft, needing strategy and forethought . Also, when the boxers fight, it is almost like a dance in the ring, lyrical and rhythmic, and that has drawn me to it visually as well. Given my exposure and interests, I think the stage to write Dancing with Demons, was set long ago.
4. What inspires you to write?
A lot of things actually but my mother’s abstract paintings have been my greatest inspiration. Almost nothing inspires me more than a work of art, even a great piece of music for that matter. The outdoors and the sight of a rising sun sometimes triggers the need to put pen to paper. Since I enjoy observing life and am particularly fascinated by human duality and contradictions, I spend a lot of time creating complex and flawed characters and then throwing them into a world I am familiar with. The writing that follows is automatically organic and un-manipulated. Ultimately for me, it’s almost always about exploring and learning something new through the process of creation.
5. And do you ever have a writer’s block? What do you do to get rid of it?
I am very passionate about the stories I want to tell and on most days I don’t feel the block but when I do, I think discipline helps. I’ve realized through personal experience that showing up in front of that laptop every single day is the only way to beat it.
6. Who are your favourite writers and poets and have they in anyway motivated you to be better at your craft? If so, how?
My favorite writers are Rohinton Mistry, Ian Mcewan, Maya Angelou, Kiran Desai, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Samuel Beckett, John Donne and T.S Eliot, to name a few. The unparalleled quality of their writing is a huge motivation for any young storyteller and I’m no exception. Like I mentioned earlier, my journey into the world of writing began with reading good literature and I strive every single day to better my craft.
7. Apart from writing what are your other interests?
I enjoy the outdoors, adventure sports, photography, watching plays and music of all genres.
8. You are also a filmmaker, how do you juggle between both the crafts?
The first step for a Writer-Director like me is to put an interesting story in place and once that is accomplished, then it’s all about visually interpreting and executing it.
As a filmmaker, I think I  am lucky to have a unique advantage by virtue of being a novelist too. It has given me a deeper understanding of story, characterization, plot, subplots, genres, mood and tone,  all of which are an essential part of building an engaging narrative, be it for a movie or a novel. I also have greater understanding of the source material (the novel) and the training to adapt it for the screen. Infact, I have already finished adapting ‘Dancing with Demons’ into a screenplay and thoroughly enjoyed the process.
Although Cinema and literature are principally two different mediums, both aim at telling an interesting story well and despite their own unique challenges and audiences, I think it is possible to straddle them equally well if one has the talent, passion and training for storytelling.
Personally, I fell blessed that I am able to juggle between these two crafts and I’m having a lot of fun doing so.
9. Finally, what is your next novel going to be about and where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I write every single day and am sure the next story will find me soon enough.
The journey for ‘Dancing with Demons’ is still on and my full focus and energies at the moment are on directing the film.
I am a filmmaker-novelist and that’s all I know, so that’s where you’ll find me even five years down the line.
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