The author of Five Point Someone, Chetan Bhagat, is an IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus. When you talk of academics, they do not come much better than this. Five Point Someone has surpassed a few records and has shot up as one of the highest read English novels ever to be published in India. It has carved out a niche for itself in Indian Literary works and has lingered in the list of best-sellers since 2004.
The novel, some say, is based on the real life experiences of the author, is set in the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, in the period 1991 to 1995. These four years were all that took the main protagonists of the story – Hari, Ryan and Alok to pass out of IIT. The story is essentially about the experiences and adventures of three mechanical engineering class-mates and friends, Hari Kumar, Ryan Oberoi, and Alok Gupta. The story is narrated through Hari, whom the author describes as somebody who had a lot of likeness to himself. The three friends fail to endure the “inhuman” grading system of the IITs and come to be called as the five pointers because of their perennially low 5.something Grade Point Averages.
The story is told in the first person by Hari, with some small additions by his friends Ryan and Alok. The book also contains a letter by Hari''s girlfriend Neha Cherian. The book basically deals with the lives of the three friends whose euphoria on making it to one of the best engineering institutions in India is short-lived as they are sucked in by the rigor and monotony of academics.
Most of the book is about the numerous attempts by the three friends to cope with and/or beat the system as well as Hari''s fling with Neha who just happens to be the daughter of Prof. Cherian, the vicious head of the Mechanical Engineering Department.
The tone of the novel is humorous through most parts though it takes some grave turns every now and then, especially when it comes to the families affairs of the main characters. Most of the action, however, takes place inside the campus as the boys, led by the aggressive and creative Ryan, frequently grieve over how the internationally renowned IIT system has not allowed their creativity to flourish by forcing them to value grades more than anything else. Uninspiring teaching and numerous assignments adds to their woes although the boys do find a sympathizer in Prof. Veera, the new fluid mechanics professor.
The novel is filled with IIT jargon which is an important part of life at IIT.
Rumor has it that the story is in the process of being made into a Bollywood film, directed by Rajkumar Hirani with Hrithik Roshan and John Abraham in prominent roles.