Bahubali and Mythology

Renewed Interest in Indian Mythology

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Bahubali has made cinematic history in the second week of its release by grossing Rs. 500 crores worldwide. People are dying to watch Bahubali, Bhallaladeva, Kattappa, Sivgami, Devasena on screen. And to the chagrin of cine goers, there are no tickets available during weekends, even though 6500 cinema halls  (largest number so far) are running multiple shows in Hindi, Tamil,Telegu and Malayalam. Bahubali is the film everyone is talking about right now and will for years to come. It’s a milestone in Indian cinema. Rajamouli’s magnum opus that took years to make is doing more than he may have ever imagined it to.

But, hey! My objective here is not to critique the film. I’ve watched it and liked the spectacular fights, Machiavellian twists, fairy-tale romance and everything else. What intrigued me most, however, while watching it was, that so many of us are now keen on folklore and mythology.

Mythology, once again. Apart from cinema, there are books. And writers writing about mythology for quite some time. Let’s take a look at them. Devdutt Patnaik, Kavita Kane, Amish Tripathi and more recently Anand Neelakantan are the leading writers of Indian mythology.  Most of these writers have produced bestsellers. Some like Anand Neelakanthan whose first book Asura published by Leadstart publishing, made it to the bestsellers list within weeks of being published has more on offer for Bahubali fans. His new novel, the Rise of Sivagami is about the childhood and history of Sivagami, queen of Mahishmathi.

Then, there’s Devdutt Pattnaik, a medical doctor, turned leadership consultant turned mythologist who continues to entice readers with his interpretation of Ramayana in Sita, An Illustrated  Retelling of the Ramayana and Mahabharata in Jaya An Illustrated  Retelling of Mahabharata. Kavita Kane on the other hand, uses abandoned or forgotten female characters like Menaka, Surpanakha, Karna’s wife Uruvi to retell the epics through a fresh and new perspective.

Amish Tripathi, the writer and marketing genius whose take on Shiva, the most revered and mysterious god from the Hindu pantheon in his The Immortals of Meluha and the Shiva trilogy is the biggest success story in the Indian publishing firmament. Apart from Chetan Bhagat.

And this wouldn’t have been possible without readers in millions lapping up what these writers have to tell. In tandem with some great marketing strategies.

Question is. As writers of thrillers or romance should we feel scared…? Or change course and start writing mythology? The answer is a loud and straight, no. There are readers for every genre. Every book, which has an interesting tale will find its way to its reader. So finish what you started and keep at it.

Your way, best way. We all want to write that one bestseller ( or many) and we can only do it in what we are best at. What probably comes naturally to us. Or by playing to our strengths.

Get inspired. We can’t imitate someone else’s success. But we can take inspiration from the epics, folklore and mythology.

Let’s not forget this is our journey and we gotta travel alone and see where it takes us. And yes, it isn’t going to be a smooth ride. Let’s say it will be one hell of a ride…

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