'May use India as backdrop of my book'
Martel feels that the country altered his perceptions about faith, and deeply inspired him to use the “animal symbolism” in his writings
Yann Martel, the Canadian author of the Man Booker Prize-winning 'Life of Pi', finds India diverse, dazzling and a place with a great tradition of storytelling and says the country may very well be the backdrop of one of his future novels.
Martel, who first travelled to the Indian sub-continent in 1996 with two little-known books against his name, talked about how the country altered his perceptions about faith and deeply inspired him to use the "animal symbolism" in his writings.
"India is so diverse, alive, varied and true to itself. It is so colourful and lively that it was literally quiet shocking for me when I first came here. You go to other countries... they are beautiful in a more sedate way. There is nothing sedate about India," he said.
"Maybe I would use India as a backdrop of my story. That would depend on my coming back here again. I still haven't seen much of the country yet. May be I will read the Ramayana one day and feel that I have got to write this book on India," added Martel.
"There is tremendous tradition of story-telling in India, both among the native Indians and the city dwellers. Even foreign writers have come to India and written novels on this country. So definitely there is something extremely stimulating about India," he noted.
The author, whose revered novel 'Life of Pi' sold over 13 million copies around the world and was transformed into an Academy Award winning film by Ang Lee in 2012, said his visit to the sub-continent helped him embark upon a new journey as a writer.
"For me India was the country of all the Gods and all the animals. I come from a country like Canada which does not have many Gods as it is mostly a secular country. Also there are not a lot of animals in the public places," Martel said, adding that he was taken aback by the presence of animals in Hindu mythology.
"It made me look into two things that I never really considered much in life, religion and animals.
"It inspired me to use the animal symbolizing the divine. In my earlier novels animals were just minor characters. But during ...Pi, I realised that animals can be really strong characters. We seem to confine animals to the world of children's literature but to me their symbolic potential to me is infinite. They act as a rich vehicle for a story teller," he explained.
The author, however, said he has no plans to write screenplays despite the massive success of the Life of Pi as a film.
"I like writing novels. Writing screenplays are a small part of something bigger, whereas writing novel is a thing in itself," he said.