KOCHI: ‘Unputdownable’ that’s what a larger section of readers have to say about Amish Tripathi’s books. He is a man who revolutionised Indian mythology and made the readers see our Gods and dieties in a new light. And this made his books reign the bestseller stands for months. In spite of his plots, which are more like spells, Amish successfully draws a huge fan following, usually the young ones, towards him. Like J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series or Dan Brown’s books, The Shiva Trilogy as well as the Scion of Ikshvaku (first of the Ram Chandra series), both have allured the readers to the core.
His books interweave epics, fables and folklore in the right proportions that intrigues the human psyches. Some critics hold the opinion that he writes in a non-literary language and the protagonist is more like a Bollywood hero. Despite the differences in opinion, the Shiva Trilogy, The Immortals of Meluha, The Secret of the Nagas and The Oath of the Vayuputras, went on to grab the bestseller tag and had also set new records in the Indian publication sphere. His website mentions that around 2.5 million copies of the Shiva Trilogy have sold out. Going by the figures it will never be an exaggeration to introduce him as “India’s first literary pop star”, a reference made by renowned filmmaker Shekhar Kapur while launching the last of the Shiva trilogy.
‘In medias res’
In the newly released book, Scion of Ikshvaku, the first of the Ram Chandra series, Amish offers something new for his ardent readers. He surprised them with trying out ‘in medias res’, a form of narrative technique in which the story begins with a crucial situation that is part of a related chain of events. When asked why he tried this technique than the normal form, Amish tells, “I always like to do something different. Experimenting is part of life. This is not a conscious or planned approach. It just comes to my mind.”
‘Ancient India Close to My Heart’
According to Amish, ancient India is a treasure trove of themes and the obsession is such that he could never shut his eyes towards that landscape in any of his works. In his own words, he is deeply proud of it and never desists from the opportunity to unearth the ideals hidden in the ancient relics through his works. The one point that he tries to drive home, through his works and interactions, is the dignity and respect given to women by the ancient texts.
“Our ancient scriptures teach to treat women with dignity. But we are in an all time low when it comes to the same. Oppression of women is massive in India. The reality is such that more than the religious violence, gender violence is increasing in our country. Girls are being killed in the womb itself and no one is coming out against this brutal violence. Through our acts we are disgracing the reputation of our ancestors,” said Amish Tripathi, who was in Kochi for a function.
Writer’s block is a phenomenon that every writer at some point of their career had encountered. Quiz Amish about the same, he says with a smile, “I never had such an experience. It’s more like a negative spiral. With the grace of Lord Shiva, I am able to put down the ideas into paper.”
After the Ram Chandra series, which may run into five, Amish says that he may try his hand at Mahabharata and then a series on Lord Parasuram and many others.
“The Mahabharata series will be of 10. After that I would like to do a work on Lord Parasuram. The Egyptian civilisation also fascinates me. In fact I had left some clues in my published works about my future subjects.”
On the possibilities of exploring the land of Kerala in his fictions, as the place has its own myths and fables, Amish says, “’Scion of Ikshvaku’ had references on the land. Is Agasthyakoodam here? The place is mentioned in my book. Even more is there but I can’t reveal much.”
But he asserts that he will explore the place more in his Parasuram series. He also added that the attempt to make Immortals of Meluha into a film is steadily progressing. “Script is done by Karan Malhotra and his wife Ekta and directed by Karan Johar,” he says.
Ask him about how he feels about being in limelight, he says, “I am living a dream.”
One thing is clear. You love him or hate him. But you can’t ignore him. That’s the only message which one could decode from the chimerical author.