In recent times, author Amish Tripathi has become the poster boy for contemporary mythological literature in India. But he feels a bit disheartened when his books are termed 'academic'.
With the hugely popular Shiva Trilogy behind him now, he is just a couple of weeks away from launching his ambitious new book - the first part in the Ram Chandra Series: Scion of Ikshvaku. Before a talk at the Crossword Bookstore in Goregaon (E), he spoke to us about his research, upcoming work, and more.
Your books have often been termed 'well-researched' and 'academic' in nature. What level of research did you do for your upcoming series?
You make me sound boring when you call them academic (laughs); maybe they are cool academic books. On the surface, the next series, like my previous ones, is a fun adventure with, of course, several lessons and philosophies from our scriptures. In terms of research, I am lucky that I was born into a house of Benares pandits. I had religious parents, so most of my foundation was built in my childhood itself. Also, I am a voracious reader; I read around four to eight books every month. All that reading is part of my research.
The Shiva trilogy is being adapted for Bollywood. Have you ever thought of writing a script?
Yes, Karan Johar is working on it. I am just a creative consultant, and of course, they will run the script by me. I may have ideas for a script, but I've never been a creative person. So, I don't know what happens in the future, after I have exhausted all my 30-35 literary ideas.
Reviews for your books have not always been positive. Do you take criticism to heart?
This is the advice I give writers and observe myself too - you've got to get rid of all your emotions. Critics don't impact the future of books. With so much cynicism around us, and because almost everybody out there writes a review today, people don't take critics seriously anymore. They will consider the book if their friends are recommending it.
How contemporary will your next series be?
All my books have a core philosophy. At the centre of the Shiva trilogy was the question - what exactly is evil? The Ram Chandra series raises questions about what an ideal society is. I also explore the idea of how every choice has its positive and negative points. It comes at the right time, I think, with so many changes taking place in our society.
Your books have generated a renewed interest in mythology among young readers. Have you had any interesting fan moments?
That's a big thing to say; I have only made a tiny contribution. Once a teenager told me that before reading my books, he used to think Shiva is his grandmother's God, but now he thinks he is the dude of Gods. (laughs)