Here is a review of ‘Asura- Tale of The Vanquished’ which I finished reading yesterday.
What if the ‘Ramayana’ you heard from your grandmother or read in Amar Chithra Katha stories or seen in Ramanand Sagar’s TV series has been a one-sided view of the whole picture? What if someone showed you Ravana’s side of the story? Well, Ananad Neelakantan does exactly that through this book. It also contains the narrative of Bhadra, an Asura who followed the dreams of his master Ravana in conquering kingdoms ruled by Devas and establish an Asura empire, only to discover that common men like him never fit into the grand scheme of things.
Pros : A fresh perspective, that is worth pondering on. Through this book, the author slowly and steadily opens the locked cells hidden in our brain and brings out the characters who have been there since our childhood and completely revamps them. Though some may find it unacceptable but Anand Neelakantan tries his best to convince us, either through the mighty and ruthless Asura king Ravana or the common man Bhadra who spent his entire life chasing someone else’s dreams and building false hopes in that journey. Though I don’t want to reveal much of the story-line, one thing worth mentioning here is of the way the author has handled the character of Vibhishana. He has been extremely critical and throughout the novel leaves no stone unturned in bashing him. I specially liked the use of nature in describing a particular scene or situation which added to the overall joy or melancholy.
Cons : I felt it was a bit slow in the beginning and took quite a bit of time to get into the groove. The writing style is brilliant though at some places I found it monotonous and verbose.
Overall a very good novel giving a new line of thought and a fresh perspective.