One of the best selling authors of the contemporary times, famously known for his revisionist take on Indian epics, currently
working on the most famed Baahubali Trilogy, talks about the birth of a literary work, the inspirations, the best and worst part of the
process of its creation, and most importantly the stimulant that leads a person to taste success. By SOPHIA CHRISTIE PRABAKAR.
Apart from being a novelist, our proficient author assumes various other interesting roles, that of a cartoonist, script/screenplay writer and story consultant for hugely popular TV series like Sita Ke Ram, Ashoka, Mahabali, Hanuman, etc. He also shows interest in spending his free time -whenever he finds any – in casting his artistic mind on oil paintings. Born in a quaint little village
called Thrippunithura’, on the outskirts of Cochin, Kerala, the successful writer began his career as an engineer and continues to be one working with Indian Oil Corporation, letting neither the profession nor the passion affect each other. He devotes about three hours a day for writing preferably in the morning between 4 and 7am, before the daily frenzy of the day job and the typical duties of a husband kick in. Having published three successful novels, the very first one, Asura, being a fortuitous, yet well deserved, super-hit, reaching the position of number one best seller of the year and him being chosen as one of the six remarkable writers of 2012 by DNA, Anand made quite a leap on the ladder of success. Right now he’s working on the most awaited Bahubali 2 series, after which his next most awaited venture is a young adult book series about the age-old story of Kacha-Devayani. He says it is expected to be released after the Bahubali series is completed. Anand’s novels take a newfangled approach towards Indian epics.They are counter told from the subaltern’s perspective, throwing light on the voiceless, and subverting the idea and role of a stereotypical ‘hero’. When asked for the reason for all his novels falling under the same genre, i.e. Indian epics, he says it suited him better to work on and also that he wanted to familiarize the youngsters with the rich Indian mythology, who otherwise are immersing themselves in Greek and Roman folklore.
“Not many people read the actual Ramayana and Mahabharata epics, but get to know about the stories through hearsay. Indian mythology fascinates me and I wish to treasure every bit of it and share it with the world! However, I do not intend to stick to this genre only. Right now, I am like the successful villain who gets subsequent villain roles”, says Anand humorously. His style of writing is a little unique, where he first jots down the story title, then the last line of the novel, followed by the last line of all the chapters, after which he begins to develop the rest.
His favourite part of writing is ‘writing’ itself, but hates the scrutinizing bit, where every paragraph is read and re-read to remove redundancy or irrelevance, despite them being beautifully written. Anand also accepts to being victim to a ‘writer’s block’ almost every single day, but combats it skilfully by diverting himself. The biggest challenge according to him about writing mythological stories is the research one needs to engage in, because on one hand it’s presenting stories people know already in an engaging manner, but on the other, getting the right information and presenting it correctly is extremely important, lest one is subject to criticism.
Sliding over to the hot topic, the most acclaimed Bahubali 2 series, he says that it was a great surprise when SS Rajamouli called him regarding it. He said, “I coldly replied to the eminent director that I’ll think about it and disconnected the phone thinking it was a prank call”. It’s after receiving an official mail from him that the writer called him and apologised. There started the journey. He’d been given a 100 days deadlinewithin which he presented his sample script, which the director liked and gave thumbs up to set off. The trilogy is written to be shaped in the form of a web series, which is to be telecasted next year.
He modestly attributes all of his success to a streak
of luck and skill. He says “It’s like a game of dice; once the dice is casted, it depends on one’s skill to
make the strategic move.