Thursday June 21, 2018

Revealed: The story behind the series on Lord Ram by author Amish Tripathi

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New Delhi: “It was an argument with a woman on Lord Ram at a literature fest that upset me immensely. That was when I had decided my next series would be on Ram,” said banker-turned-author Amish Tripathi on his upcoming book – “Scion of Ikshvaku”. Through this series, the author said, he needed to give his interpretation of Lord Ram, who the woman thought had mistreated his wife, Sita.amish-tripathi

After his successful Shiva Trilogy, the author explores his version of the Ramayana through the Ramchandra series, which he said could entail five to six books.

“I think the incident was meant to happen to me to help me make up my mind,” Tripathi told IANS in an interview on the side-lines of the launch of the first chapter of his new work.

“The idea behind giving out only one chapter of the book is to give the readers a sense of what the book could be. We are offering the free chapter through Amazon Kindle or their app. Through the online chapter, we aim to spread it out and keep the excitement up among the readers,” said Tripathi, who debuted with “The Immortals of Meluha” in 2010 – the first of the Shiva Trilogy.

He soon broke into the top-seller charts, within a week of its launch.

Talking about the idea behind his books, he said: “In all my books, there is a core philosophy which I try to convey. For the Shiva Trilogy, it was to find out what evil is and for the Ramchandra series, it is to know what an ideal society is,” adding that he was unsure of what he was going to write when he signed a contract with his publisher around two years ago.

When he was asked if he was under pressure to deliver a promising first chapter, he replied sternly: “When I am writing, I don’t care about the publishers or critics or, frankly, even readers. When I write, I only write for myself. Once I am done with writing, I focus entirely on marketing.”

A good book does not sell itself, he remarked. Teamed with his wife, Preeti Tripathi, the couple have changed the way Indian books marketed themselves. The marketing campaigns ranged from video trailers before the book launch to releasing one chapter of the book as an appetizer.

Facing rejection for his first book’s manuscript by 20 publishers, Tripathi said he never thought of an alternative, where he would give up on his book. So, he had decided to self-publish it.

Attributing his knowleamish-tripathi (1)

dge of mythology to his family, he mentioned that his grandfather, who was a pandit, and his parents taught him many things on the subject, adding that the long debates with his family on mythology helped him with his books. A voracious reader, he has been reading at least 4-8 non-fiction or mythological books every month since his teenage years.

Graduated from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, he had worked with reputed banks in the country before he turned into an author. “I left my job only after my second book had released. Since I do not come from a wealthy background, it was important for me to ensure that I could pay my bills. I used to write my first book on weekends and in my spare time,” he said.

“I have enough fiction ideas to keep myself busy for the next 20 years. And if all of them keep selling, hopefully, I can keep writing. Else, I have to go back to banking,” he added with a laugh, talking about his future plans. (IANS)

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The Scion of Ikshvaku: A retelling of Ramayana by Amish Tripathi

The book is simple yet written nicely. It can get you engrossed right away. Everything is explained well, it is graphic enough for a reader to play it as a movie in their head.

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'The Scion of Ikshvaku' is based on Ramayana, though it deviates from the original epic. Wikipedia
'The Scion of Ikshvaku' is based on Ramayana, though it deviates from the original epic. Wikipedia
  • Amish Tripathi’s ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku’ is a retelling of Ramayana.
  • The book is a surprise to all the readers who think that it will follow the conventional story line.
  • The book has garnered good responses and has also built anticipation for the other ones in the series.

Amish Tripathi is famous for taking elements from Hindu mythology and adding his own imagination to concoct exciting and thrilling reads. His earlier books on Shiva got rave reviews. And now he’s back, and this time he is retelling us one of our favourite mythological stories. The story of Ramayana.

The first book of the Ram Chandra series by Amish Tripathi, The Scion of Ikshvaku, was released on 22 June 2015 after what seemed to be the most expensive promotional drive for a book, which even included YouTube trailers.

Akshay Kumar at the cover launch of 'The Scion of Ikshvaku.' Wikimedia Commons
Akshay Kumar at the cover launch of ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku.’ Wikimedia Commons

How much did Tripathi succeed in retelling us the story of Ramayana? 

Amish Tripathi knows how to mix mythology with his plots, but how accurate was his mythology this time around? For anyone who knows the Ramayana and expects ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku’ to be the same, must prepare themselves for a shock.

But for those who know how Amish Tripathi goes with his stories, the book will meet all their expectations, for Amish knows how to bend and create a story.

His literary style is nothing classic. Many people don’t even like it, but one cannot help but admire how Amish always manages to create new stories from old, rusty ones. He has an exceptional ability to keep the essence of mythological tales while spinning wildly deviant plots around them.

The narration in ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku’ is very good, with crisp dialogues and suspense which was aptly built up paragraph through a paragraph.

Amish builds upon the epic Rama, in a very un-Ramayana like manner (He never used the word ‘Ramayana’ which is very clever of him). The differences with the epic tale are apparent right where he lists the major characters. Ram is just another human hero and the story is devoid of any magical elements.

The first and greatest difference between the Ramayana and The Scion of Ikshvaku is the depiction of Ram as an unloved prince. His father, King Dasaratha, considers Ram inauspicious and reason for all his misfortunes. The very foundation of the epic is laid differently in the story.

Many characters surprise us we move forward with the story. For example, Manthara instead of a poor handmaiden is shown as the wealthiest businesswoman of Ayodhya in Amish’s world.

Another example is Sita, who Amish appointed as the prime minister of Mithila in his story. Ravana also only has one head in Tripathi’s version, though with a horned helmet.

Amish Tripathi, the author who knows how to bend mythology to create amazing stories. Wikimedia Commons
Amish Tripathi, the author who knows how to bend mythology to create amazing stories. Wikimedia Commons

The intrigue deepens as we read further into the story. Amish has played with this epic and has made it into a story which surprises us at every turn of event. It is nothing like we would think it would be.

Amish is unapologetic about all the changes he made in mythology and that is his USP.

The book is full of examples of Amish’s imagination, but it is for the reader to find them and judge them. The author has packed his book with all the necessary drama-action-comedy masala, the combination which always gets guaranteed success.

Honestly, the book cannot claim any literary merit, but Amish’s easy prose and page-turning style are designed to be enjoyable, not analyzable.

The book is simple yet written nicely. It can get you engrossed right away. Everything is explained well, it is graphic enough for a reader to play it as a movie in their head. This s one book which once picked up, you won’t be able to leave until it is done.