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Will Shiva be the new hash tag?

Will Shiva be the new hash tag?
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Amish’s Shiva is a ‘dude’ - a word that the author says a reader once used to describe the God. He is gorgeous, he romantic, he is a warrior and a defender of the downtrodden and he has danced his way in to the heart of not just Sati, but millions of readers across the country. If you forget for a minute then, that he is the revered Mahadev of the Hindu divine trinity, he can almost be hero matter, for the best romance novel. But then Indian women have always fantasised about him, or a husband like him. Add to that the mystery, the racy action and retelling of mythologies that characterise Amish’s books and is it surprising then that the protagonist of
The Immortals of Meluha
has a PYT [pretty you thing, for the uninitiated] like Sonam Kapoor totally charmed? A few days back Anil Kapoor’s daughter tweeted about reading The Immortals of Meluha for the second time.

‘The two books: The Immortals of Meluha and the second part of the Shiva trilogy, The Secret of the Nagas are still on the top five bestseller list everywhere. Together the two books have already had a print run of 5,58,000 copies,’ says finance-professional-turned-author Amish, in a telephonic chat with Millennium Post from Mumbai, where he is based.

By his own admission, he had had little expectation from the book. It was just an idea that had come to him, ‘a blessing from shiva’, and he wanted to say it. But it was a success – the book went into reprint within the first week. In August next year, he released, the second book,
The Secret of the Nagas
. The author is busy working on the third and final book of the trilogy, The Oath of the Vayuputras. ‘I aim to release it by the end of this year. I had thought I’d be able to finish it earlier, but the book is becoming long. I had planned to wrap it up in about 25 chapters, but it will become at least 30-35 chapters,’ he says.

If the first book of the trilogy had introduced Shiva as a warrior chief from the mountains across the borders who migrates with his tribe to the organised land of the Suryavanshis and his subsequent rise as the Mahadev, the protector of the Suryavanshis and his romance with the princess Sati, the second book, carries the story further to reveal long-hidden secrets and deal with Shiva’s inner turmoil over what is evil. ‘The question will finally be answered in the third book. It will explain who the Vasudevs [Shiva’s guide through the past two books] and the Vayuputras are. Shiva’s mission will become clearer. There is battle, pain and death. Evil will be taken out of the equation. But once you read, the third book and then if you go back and read the first two books, you will see that I had left clues to the final answer. In fact few of the readers have already worked it out and have written to me. Also, because the books follow the myths of Shiva, whoever is familiar with the myths will know the end,’ says Amish.

The author is tight-lipped about his film deal with Karan Johar. ‘The term sheet was signed in December-January, but the final contract has just been signed. I have been appointed as a creative consultant and now they are deciding on the director and the scriptwriter,’ says Amish, refusing to either confirm or deny whether Ashutosh Gowarikar has been signed on as the director. ‘There are a lot of rumours about the cast also, but it is early days yet,’ he says.

The author thinks he is not going to be possessive about his story. ‘I held creative meetings with all the people who bid for the book. Karan Johar and his team believe in the story and I have comfort with them. I understand that they will need to adapt the story. If they film it as it is, it will be a seven hour long movie. What I will do is explain the entire story to them. The book is only 25 per cent of what I had in mind, which is the case with most fantasies. Then I will trust them to do justice to the book,’ he explains.

And just as he was never scared of evoking controversy with his very human Shiva he is not worried about the response that the Bollywood movie will evoke. ‘I think India is, at its historical core, a very liberal country. We had lost that liberalism, but we are regaining it now,’ says Amish, adding, ‘In India, we have always been tolerant of different paths to reach the truth. Tulsidas’ Ramayan has differences from Valmiki’s Ramayan. But there was never a controversy because Tulsidas’ devotion to Ram was apparent in his writing. Similarly anyone who reads my work will be able to see the Shiva devotee in me. That’s why there has been no controversy at all regarding my books. Plus, as I said before, it is all there in the Shiva stories – singing, dancing, even erotic love between Shiva and Sati’.
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