An excellent writer and a cartoonist at heart, Anand Neelakantan has never accepted anything without questioning. The only reason why he has been able to bag many accolades for his style of counter telling of Mythology, a subject very close to his heart and upbringing. He has also written scripts for mega TV series Siya Ke Ram (Star Plus), Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat (Colors TV),Sankatmochan Mahabali Hanuman (Sony TV) and Adalat 2 (Sony TV).Anand’s debut work, ‘Asura, Tale of the Vanquished’ was a surprise bestseller of 2012, breaking into the top seller charts within a week of its launch. Lately, Anand Neelakantan also launched his first book in the Bahubali trilogy, The Rise of Sivagami. He has written columns for many prestigious journals and was twice shortlisted for Crossword awards. Moreover, he was also featured in Forbes Celebrity long list.

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How do you think your books are different from the regular mythological content?

The fact that my books are based on the counter telling of mythology is something which sets them apart from that of many other based on the very subject. I make an attempt to bring my books out in a thought provoking approach. The content in my books deals with logically viewing the well known stories through a new prism. I think this can be one such element that reserves a different place for my books.

How interesting was it for you to research on a subject like Mythology?

It, of course, was profusely interesting to take up writing on a subject your family has already been doting on. As I was born in a family in which Indian mythology was and still is a living tradition. I was also influenced by my father who was well versed in Scriptures and Puranas. The whole idea of exposing myself to such a subject which has survived Universal Truth, was intriguing within itself.

How were you driven to choose to highlight only the anti-heroes?

Unbelievably, in my early days, the idea of the emperor of the Asuras, Ravana, did not leave me and he continued to haunt me for six long years by visiting me in my dreams, walking with me and urging me to write his side of the story. And this fascination that began to grow for Ravana, thereafter, remained dormant for many years. And also that I felt the need to throw light on the antecedents of, for instance, the battle of Mahabharata or that which took place between Rama and Ravana in Ramayana

How do you think this Literature Festival would inspire readers to accept your style of counter telling of Mythology?

Such Literature Festivals are really needed in a city like Dehradun, a city which is rich in every way. I have an old connection with Dehradun where I studied at a University campus and ofcourse like most people I love Ruskin Bond and his contribution to literature. This is going to be a platform which would give an exhibition to Dehradun’s already existing, yet unfolded, diverse culture of literature. And this diversity is backed by people’s enthusiastic acceptance of all kinds of genres. Therefore, this festival would only foster the acceptance of people towards my logical approach to the Hindu Mythology.

Is, The Rise of Sivagami, the first book in the Bahubali trilogy, an adaptation to the very movie?

The book is not an adaptation to the movie but in fact, lays the foundation for the epic that the movie series Bahubali is all about. All managed to be projected in the movie was only peripheral as the world as big as that of Bahubali could not be encapsulated in a movie or two. The book rather tells the tale of the kingdom of Mahishmathi, revealing the childhood and history of Sivagami, the queen of Mahishmathi, and introduces us to the royal slave, Kattappa.I am happy to inform you that the book is number 1 across all charts for last 64 days.

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