Karan Razdan, who wrote and acted in the TV series Rajani in the ’80s and has directed films like Girlfriend, Souten: The Other Woman and Aagaah-The Warning, has now turned an author with Tantra and the Tantrika, being talked about in the cine circles as one that would make a very interesting movie.
Why did he choose to write a book when he could have easily weaved it into a movie script? “Sometimes, the subject chooses its medium. The topic of tantra is so huge that a book was the only choice left for me to narrate the story,” says Razdan. The title of his debut novel, which took 11 years to complete, had been registered by him with the Film Writers’ Association.
The novel is a story of a prostitute (Megha), based in Varanasi, who gains enlightenment through sex and becomes a guru. Another central character is yogi Mahendranath, a practitioner of hatha yoga and tapasya since he was 13-14 and who attains siddhi (supernatural powers).
Mahendranath is akin to a modern-day Ravana. He gets obsessed with the third character, Susan, who comes to India to learn his art. Though a yogi who has performed penance, he is not in search of moksha, he does not want to exit the cycle of birth and death. He is also an obsessed lover and a fascinating character with shades of grey. “I have met a few like him on my spiritual journey. He represents tantra and Megha’s awakening is also through tantric practices. So she is a tantrika and therefore the title,” Razdan explains.
The yogi eventually declares war against both women. The climax is set in the Maha Kumbh, abound with spirits, demonic forces and goddesses.
On his transition from a director to a writer, Razdan says, “Writing is a very fulfilling profession. I used to write short stories in my college. Hobby turned into profession after I came back from the National School of Drama. Creating characters and giving them a destiny is such a godlike feeling. The other fascinating part about writing is that you watch God, his creation and his storytelling of different lives, very fascinated. And then you try to ape God.”
Razdan is not new to the spiritual subject matter. He and his wife Aarti have been followers of Osho for a long time. “The characters of Tantra and the Tantrika are inspired from real life. Where else will a character of a prostitute be inspired from but the dark side of life! The paradoxical part about her character is that she gets enlightened and becomes Megha Guruma. Her journey is from darkness to light and beyond,” he adds. Meanwhile, Susan, is like any girl from the West, “who travels east in search of peace, nirvana and enlightenment”.
Razdan says he met many girls like Susan in Varanasi and in the Maha Kumbh in Allahabad this year.
Asked about the possibility of adapting the novel to the silver screen, he says, “The success of the book will decide if the book can be made into a film or not. The material is right there. Eleven years of research have gone into writing this book. It can be made into a powerful film which, apart from the content, can be visually very appealing.”
The actor-filmmaker-turned writer promises that the book takes the reader on a fascinating journey, replete with information and understanding of tantra.
“If you Google the word tantra, you shall realise the interest it generates world- wide. There are hundreds of schools teaching tantra. Millions are practising techniques of tantra as taught by Lord Shiva and by Vajrayana Buddhism. Tantra appeals to millions.”
The novel will be available this month. Next in line is his second book, The Power of Blessing, which will hit the stores in December. “It is being formatted as we speak. Before the year ends I will start my film on Meena Kumari. I am in the process of casting for the movie,” he signs off.