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Interview: Farhad J. Dadyburjor Widens the Scope of Queer Literature With His New Rom-Com

'I always felt there needs to be just more happiness in a gay novel.'
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  • The Other Man
  • 'I always felt there needs to be just more happiness in a gay novel.'

Publisher's Summary

A heartwarming and transporting romantic comedy about finding happy ever after on your own terms.

Heir to his father’s Mumbai business empire, Ved Mehra has money, looks, and status. He is also living as a closeted gay man. Thirty-eight, lonely, still reeling from a breakup, and under pressure from his exasperated mother, Ved agrees to an arranged marriage. He regrettably now faces a doomed future with the perfectly lovely Disha Kapoor. 

Then Ved’s world is turned upside down when he meets Carlos Silva, an American on a business trip in India. 

As preparations for his wedding get into full swing, Ved finds himself drawn into a relationship he could never have imagined - and ready to take a bold step. Ved is ready to embrace who he is and declare his true feelings regardless of family expectations and staunch traditions. But with his engagement party just days away, and with so much at risk, Ved will have to fight for what he wants - if it’s not too late to get it.

©2021 Farhad J. Dadyburjor. (P)2021 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

Critic Reviews

“Ved’s listlessness and indecision is understandable, which speaks to how sympathetic and well developed a character he is…the book’s lightning quick pace, charming dialogue, and vibrant portrayal of Mumbai are more than enough to keep readers invested until the cathartic and uplifting final act.”Booklist

“Farhad J. Dadyburjor’s The Other Man is all about living the life you want, not the one that is expected of you. At 38, Ved Mehra is the heir of a Mumbai business empire, who seems to be living a charmed life. But what his family doesn’t know is that he’s gay, and although he has finally agreed to an arranged marriage, he has also found the man of his dreams.”POPSUGAR 

Editor's Pick

A feel-good love story
As soon as I heard the premise of The Other Man, I knew I had to give it a listen. Set in modern-day Mumbai, this gay rom-com has it all: a wealthy and attractive hero, a story of secrets and double lives, an arranged marriage, and an incredible love story. I was also lucky enough to sit down with Farhad Dadyburjor to talk about his story, which made me love it even more! Between Ariyan Kassam’s amazing performance and the incorporation of the real-life repeal of the Indian Penal Code’s Section 377, which made it a crime to be gay, this listen is as heartwarming as it is provocative. In other words, I love just about everything about it. —Michael C., Audible Editor

What listeners say about The Other Man

Average Customer Ratings
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too long, too much whining

I really wanted to like this story, and I did, at first. But with each repetitious, whiny interior monologue, or long exposition in the middle of a "live" conversation, I just became more annoyed. This should have been a novella, at best; save the descriptions of the city and the food, drop the whining. Ved would have been more likeable with less whining. I don't discount his fears, and I am aware of the cultural pressure he lived with. I just got tired of being beat over the head with it, listening to him whine about it.

On the plus side, Mr Kassan, the reader, was excellent. His accents were perfect, and few male readers make females characters sound so natural. Well done on his part.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing

This is a wonderful glimpse into the struggle of coming out and cultural change. Ved, a closeted gay man was blindsided when his boyfriend of four years announced they needed to breakup because he would be marrying woman. Broken hearted, Ved goes on to build a wall around his heart refusing to let anyone else in. He engages in no string attached sex with men he meets through a hook up app.

Getting his heart broken is both the only thing he is avoiding. Ved’s mother is on a serious mission to get him married and he is equally serious about avoiding that prospect. But it seems he may not be able to avoid it forever. During one of her calls, Ved’s mother announces she has the perfect wealthy young India girl. After putting her off for a while, Ved gives in and goes on a date with Disha completely expecting it to be a disaster and making a mental plan to tell his mother it did not work out. What he didn’t anticipate was the extent to which he would enjoy Disha’s company or that they would develop a true friendship. Because of this friendship, both Ved and Disha mutually resigned themselves to marry each other to please their parents and as the lesser of many evils. Just when Ved decides to bite the bullet, he meets Carlos, the perfect man who shows up at the exact wrong moment.

I really enjoyed the narration on audible and the story itself. I appreciate the way the author depicts Ved’s struggle to please his parents and build a relationship with Carlos, while preserving his friendship with Disha.

Good storyline, wonderful world building, strong characters and an epic HEA!

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic novel, fantastic narrator

"The Other Man" is refreshing, funny, lovely, sweet, romantic, and a little frustrating (in the best way). We follow Ved, a gay man living in Mumbai, through his mother's well-meaning but misguided attempt to marry him off to the beautiful and wealthy Disha. Midway through the preparations for the wedding, he meets Carlos, a well-traveled American who is in India on business. Ved is instantly smitten, but has trouble--quite a bit of trouble--coming clean to Disha and his parents. The novel is in third person and is written entirely from Ved's point of view, which I personally find refreshing (POV switches have a tendency to be clumsy and fanfictionesque). This does not mean, however, that the other characters are not fleshed out; Disha, Carlos, and Ved's parents are all fully-realized human beings with realistic motivations and reactions. They are also, for the most part, genuinely good people (Ved's mother got on my nerves a bit), though this doesn't mean there is no conflict between them. Ved in particular, though I loved him, made some bad decisions, as all good protagonists must, but his motivations were clear and sympathetic. Ariyan Kassam's narration is, quite simply, one of the best narrations I have ever heard. His natural speaking voice (or the non-dialogue narration, anyway) is pleasant and masculine, with a lovely lilting quality to it. His character voices are all distinct, including the women. Some male narrators use one voice for all female characters, but I could easily tell Disha from Ved's mother. He also seems to be a master of accents, and not only for the Indian characters--the American accent he uses for Carlos is flawless. What's more, his acting is wonderful, and his sense of comic timing for the humorous parts is perfect. I can't praise the narrator enough. This novel is fun, dramatic, not too angsty, and well written. It is set against the backdrop of the repeal of the law criminalizing homosexuality, though it's also refreshingly free of politics. If I absolutely had to name a criticism, I'd say the ending felt a bit rushed, though it was still good. One of the easiest and most obvious five star reviews I've ever given.

6 people found this helpful

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Good story

I really enjoyed this story. It’s interesting to see different cultural expectations and then to apply the circumstances to yourself.
The narrator was great. I loved listening to the main character’s mother.

6 people found this helpful

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Best narrator I’ve ever heard

The story is interesting because of the Indian experience and cultural insights. The description of the book essential gives away the entire plot, so no surprises, but a good listen. The narrator is incredible. Switching between multiple accents and personalities is the best and most engaging I’ve ever heard.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Had higher hopes

I expected to like this much better than I did. I suppose I had high hopes based on some of the very positive reviews.

There were no surprises in this story. The narrative seemed to go on and on in a very s-l-o-w spiral toward an ending that, having seen the interview with the author on Audible, was inevitable, and thus completely predictable.

Especially once Carlos enters the story, I thought I was listening to a well-written novel by a high school-aged author. Perhaps, for me, it lacked a certain maturity concerning the complicated situation.

Not sure if it was the dialog itself, or the interpretation given by the narrator, but the dialog surrounding the serious themes seemed sophomoric. The characters were painted with broad brushstrokes, The characters seemed too perfect in their respective roles. The rich, closeted, hard working main character, struggling with the decision whether to please his parents and do what was expected of him, or himself. A theme that was hammered to death in the book. The understated and understanding father. The overbearing mother. The sweet, beautiful and understanding, if arranged, girlfriend. And the lighthearted, innocent American. Almost childlike in his eager excitement to see and experience everything. Carefree, but having the highest code of morals, despite his meeting our sad hero through a gay hookup app.

I found this young man, Carlos, to be the most sophomoric aspect of the book. Ready for anything, ostensibly never judgemental. Until he is.

Despite clearly acknowledging in the course of the story the tough choices facing gay men in a conservative country with laws criminalizing homosexuality, he isn't very open or sympathetic to the reality which our belabored hero must navigate and suffer through every day.

I had higher hopes for this book. It just didn't meet them. It seemed more like a coming of age story for the high school set. A better treatment of this complex interpersonal quandary suffered by so many gay people, torn between their sexual orientation and their families' expectations, is actually better handled in a lighthearted film, "A Touch of Pink."

I'm sorry to say I'd recommend that movie over this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting

Not my cup of tea, I lead a totally different lifestyle, but a well told gay lifestyle story .

1 person found this helpful

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Great romantic trip to India

I loved the world created here. The writing was good enough that I would have loved descriptions of making love, however tasteful and discreet, but I think the suddenly dark screen is neglectful

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Kinda boring

I appreciated the glimpses at Indian culture but the romance felt sort of flat. And it was very frustrating to feel that Wade was lying for no real reason.

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Interesting premise poorly executed

There is what seemed to me to be a very big reveal between the father and son very early on which goes completely unacknowledged afterward. You are told that the main character has developed deep emotional connections with two different characters despite almost no time being spent with one and nothing of substance happening with the other. I kept forgetting that the main character, whose name I cant remember, is meant to be a 38yo man because his behavior seems more like someone in their early to mid20s. The main character has a very valid concern about being outted in his country and states how people will react to it only to have everything wrapped up so that everyone lives in perfect harmony. There are no consequences to his actions, no validity to his SEEMINGLY valid concerns, and no real climax to a story. There is a sex scene very early on that in hindsight feels like it was written about another character because nothing about that person is reflected in the other 8hrs of the story.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Gallahan
  • 01-23-22

Angst. Good performances

Performances very good. Story had too much angst for me. The main protagonist spent a lot of time lying

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  • Wide Eyes, Big Ears!
  • 05-06-22

A light Mumbai m/m romance on being in the closet

There’s a lot to keep 38 yo Mumbai businessman Ved Mehra in the closet: India has yet to decriminalise homosexuality and it’s culturally scandalous; Ved’s mother is hellbent on marrying him off and getting grandchildren; he’s sole heir to his father’s tech empire; and he is disillusioned with his previous gay lovers. When Ved actually clicks with Disha Kapoor, one of a long line of ‘suitable women’ his mother foists upon him, he allows himself to become engage against his better nature. The timing couldn’t worse because that’s also when he meets Carlos, the man of his dreams. I’m always fascinated by stories set in the Subcontinent, I loved the characters, and I really enjoyed this textbook example of a closet case digging himself in deeper. It would be easy to judge Ved harshly, he certainly could have avoided some of the lies, cheating, and hurt he causes, but this is a cautionary m/m romance that does a good job of warning us while keeping things fun and light. Audio narrator Ariyan Kassam is superb, effortlessly moving between Indian and American accents, ages, and genders.