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Half a Rupee Stories

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  994 ratings  ·  118 reviews
Twenty-five fascinating stories from the inimitable Gulzar
A suicide bomber in a small town plans out her last day, getting herself photographed before she goes and blows up the prime minister. A drunkard in a Mumbai slum tries to compete with the torrential rain, even as it washes his dwelling away. An army man at the border has become so accustomed to speaking over the
Paperback, 232 pages
Published 2013 by Penguin
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  994 ratings  ·  118 reviews

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Simran Khurana
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
That Gulzar is a magician with words is a given. Notwithstanding his contribution to Bollywood, Gulzar has written soul stirring poetry in Hindi and Urdu that can give you goosebumps. I came across this book while I was reading one of his fabulous poems online. Without giving it a second thought, I ordered for the book. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

Half a Rupee Stories is just that: simple, inconsequential stories about everyday struggles of ordinary people. No major plot, no
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: india
My rating is not for the book as such. It is for two heartwarming stories-

Ghugu and Jamuni- Oh!! What a lovely lovely tale. A bird in love with a kite. A story that will be in my heart forever.Even if you skip the whole book it is ok, but don't miss this love story

The Charioteer- At first you might feel sorry for Maruti who works as
a sweeper in a ferry and has a hard life. But when he gets back home he is in the warmth of his family's love. Then you realize you have no right to feel sorry for
Himali Kothari
Feb 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
The translation killed the stories for me
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not exactly a masterpiece I hoped for! 2/5
"Half a Rupee Stories" is little book of short stories consisting of 25 stories divided into 8 parts, each having a motif of it's own. I have been eagerly waiting to read it, reason being the amazing title and a wizard of words "Gulzar" allied to it but the moment I started I realized not every glitter is gold.

I enjoyed only few of the narratives. I feel the stories would have sounded better in Hindi, the translation has just killed it badly. Though
Pooja Venkat
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Half a Rupee Stories is a brilliant translation of Gulzar Saab's works by Sunjoy Shekhar. In this choicest collection of short stories Gulzar Saab , like always, weaves his magic of raconteuring. Encompassing stories from the length and breadth of his homeland i.e. from the panic-stricken valleys of Kashmir, the skirmishes along the barbed borders of India and Pakistan , the fierce battle for existence in the metros , excerpts from the vaults of Filmdom, and across many other poignant fronts. ...more
Farhan Khalid
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories, indian
[Gulzar] A good storyteller is the conscious-keeper of a nation

Walk through the pages of a book and you'll find characters

Like old friends In the corridors of time

A large part of me still lives on that side of the border

My roots still remain on the other side

[Javed Akhter] Poetry flows in his veins

J Krishnamurti. History would be read and then repeated

Dreams heed no border, the eyes sees no visas

With eyes shut I walk across the line in time All the time

Both sides stake their claims on Kashmir
May 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Atthani would be too much to pay for this sentimental drivel. When he isn't namedropping, Gulzar presents us with excruciatingly crude caricatures of the picturesque poor. He's trying so hard to be like Manto, esp. the story "Hilsa" where a murdered gangrape victim's eyes are compared to that of a fish on the chopping board of a coy Bengali housewife. Manto had compared the necrophiliac energies of Partition violence to thanda ghosht (cold mutton) with such provocative and lyrical force. Gulzar ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
Probably Gulzar is better off writing poems. I couldn't manage to complete the book. And then the translation is awful. Somebody should have been paid to proof read the grammar. Overall, the book is just like the title - half baked!
Asha Seth
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
25 short stories with immensely captivating endings. Proves the genius Gulzar sahab is renowned for. Brilliantly translated too.
Review to follow!
Shivani Gupta
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Only a story or two had an impact on me, others compelled me to keep the book back in the shelf.
Namitha Varma
Touching stories, some, but I didn't like all of them. I believe they might have read better in Hindi.
Shreya Dixit
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had read it in Hindi. There is a lyricism to his prose which is lost in translation. Each story shocks or tickles or reminds and awakes a dormant part of what it is to be an Indian.
Manish Purohit
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Half a rupee stories by Gulzar is a compendium of twenty five stories touching various chords of the human sentiments, woven around those daily emotions of ones life that there is some inherent oneness that the reader feel once he reads the stories. There are no major plots in the stories to glue the readersthere are no exemplary twists and turns to arouse ones interestthere are no larger than life characters that remains historic There is, however, an experience of almost each and every shade ...more
Gorab Jain
Out of 25 stories divided in 8 parts, immensely enjoyed 7 stories comprising mostly the first and the last parts. Rest of it were at best mediocre and a total let-down.

The ones which struck many chords in my heart.... and the sole reason to be happy to have picked this :
Kuldip Nayyar and Pir Sahib - Real account of Kuldip Nayyar's memory of Pir Sahib
Sahir and Jaadu - Real account of Javed Akhtar's relation with father figure Sahir.
LoC - On the bondings of family friends split across
Vikrant Rana
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Frankly, I was disappointed nothwithstanding the fact that Gulzar has a reputation of a literary giant. One reason could be the loss of nuances when translating from one language to another. While the prose is terrific and it comes through, it still doesn't read like someone writing in his/her natural language. Stories are short and feels more like a roving camera that goes through people's life. This powerful narration obviously shows his mastery of the art of storytelling. In a nutshell, me ...more
Shantanu Patnaik
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
A few stories might have a slow pace but almost all of them are really good. You got to admire the simplicity and lucidity. The stories were very touching and masqueraded the sadistic life people near the border live due to the partition and other socio-economic issues. Stories involving Kashmir were undoubtedly more interesting and rather black, but really reaffirm the unity that should be binding India and Pakistan instead of separating them.
Dushyant Chaturvedi
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
the first few stories are about film personalities like javed akhtar and others and apart from his tale,the rest are average. but despair not.

once the book moves to mumbai,it literally takes off and stuns with the poignant insights.

fantastic collection with nearly twenty stories out of the twenty five being truly world class.
Sanchit Rao
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Aravind Vivekanandan
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am sure there are a lot of elements that get lost in translation. However, the humanity of this work transcends the boundaries of language.
Siddhi Palande
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
'Because "common man" like us only having half of things half-plate eating, half-night sleeping, half laughing, , half crying, half living and also half dying. This atthanni never becomes full rupiah.'

Gulzar. Gulzar. Gulzar. I am absolutely in love with this wordsmith. His words will definitely melt your heart. Even the toughest cannot survive when stroked by the pleasantness of his word power. So I began reading this book by Penguin India. I had finished it a long time ago but owing to the
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful stories, enchantingly told. The collection reminds you on a chilly day, sitting around the fire and somebody starts tales or people known and unknown. Totally captivating and heart warming. A slice of life, a small incident in their long meandering life, that is what these stories are about.

The translation is excellent. It often left me wondering, if the translation is so good, how much more captivating would the original have been. And knowing Gulzarji's style, there is no doubt
Mahmood Athil
Jul 30, 2019 rated it liked it
The stories were totally worth Half a rupee. Not that I didn't like it but I didn't enjoy much reading it. Though I had a few favourites. It captures the realism of the people in the story, which is likely my personal favourite feature in a fiction.

The book is best read and understood when your regional language is Urdu or Hindi - else would be difficult to have things understood well. Or it's best read in that native language.

And I'd never recommend it to a beginner nor a foreigner.
Pratibha Suku
Aug 17, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: abandoned
Our frequency didn't match.
I tried it repeatedly for couple of months without any success.
Couple of reviewers who have given it low rating are underlining the reason as English language, but I feel otherwise.
Translations at times kills but too this extend I doubt.
I read 3 stories, and it didn't do me any good.
May be this tells me as reader I have lot of growing up to do before I understand the maestro's work.
Bhumika Shah
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reading Gulzarji is a treat!
Half a Rupee Stories is a journey towards emotions we observe day to day yet we don't express! Every story is narrating some special incident that grows inside us.
Human emotions and life has been portrayed so beautifully that reading this book one feels living it within.
A must read! :)
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely and quick read...some of the stories are very heart touching. A friend mentioned that the stories are more powerful in Hindi when compared to the translated version. I am looking forward to try the original version too
Neha Singh
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gulzar Sahab as everyone calls him really does deserve the Sahab after his name. Though I read the book in English it felt very Hindi Urdu on my tongue. my favourites were the story on Javed Akhtar and Gulzar Sahab's travelog.
Vishal Talreja
Everyday stories that happen around us and are easily forgotten or missed. Each of us carry a story and Gulzar and brought some of them to light. The translation is weak in parts but overall, an easy quick and sometimes hard-hitting read.
Nvn Pandey
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
great thought of gulzar
Mitra Samal
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A collection of heart touching stories that will make you smile and ponder
Sudhakar Gupta
Aug 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own
There were a couple of stories that struck a chord but for the most part, they were underwhelming. Perhaps something was lost in translation. Note to self - Read Gulzar in Urdu/Hindi.
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