Anand Neelekantan is a well-known name in contemporary Indian literature for his mythological fiction novels. He writes books, magazine columns, and scripts/stories for movies. Apart from this, he is a television personality, a cartoonist, and a motivational speaker.
Having written eleven English and one Malayalam mythological fiction books, he tells unusual stories from the antagonists or supporting characters’ perspectives. For instance, the first novel in his Ramayana trilogy, Asura: Tale of the Vanquished (2012), was based on the Indian epic Ramayana from Ravana’s perspective.
It was followed by Mahabharata and Baahubali-themed publications. His books are available in Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Assamese, English, and Indonesian.
Anand publishes a New Indian Express current events piece named “Acute Angles” fortnightly. He writes Malayalam stories for significant journals. The author resides in Mumbai with his wife, two children, and a dog.
He has a telegram channel which you can join. You can also ask for an author-signed copy at his website. Anand Neelekantan has been written about in major Indian newspapers and appeared on Ted Talks.
Anand Neelekantan Books
In all, Anand has 12 published bestseller novels read by more than 40 lakh readers. 7 of his books are based on Ramayana and 2 are based on Mahabharat. He has authored three books in his Bahubali series, 1 children’s book, seven television scripts and two audiobooks.
Without Shanta’s sacrifice, would King Dasharatha have his desired sons? Manthara is a wicked, conniving handmaid to the queen who protects her ward from royal intrigues. How did Meenakshi the beautiful-eyed become ugly and lustful? In an epic about a righteous prince, what do women do?
As popular author Anand Neelakantan deconstructs Valmiki’s ageless story, these stories of ambition, love, devotion, and heroism reveal new perspectives on the ladies. Valmiki’s Ramayana women are lovers, sisters, wives, and mothers who piece together a complicated tale.
Following are three books in the Bahubali Trilogy (Series), by Anand Neelekantan.
Rise of Sivagami (Anand Neelekantan Blockbuster Bahubali Trilogy)
Mahishmathi is an abundant empire blessed by Gauriparvat. The great country thrives under its ruler, who has the support and allegiance of his subjects, even his slaves. Are things as they seem, or is the empire hiding a nasty secret?
Sivagami, orphaned and taken from her foster family, waits to punish her father’s killers, who had mercilessly labelled her father a traitor. Her foe? The Mahishmathi king. The feisty orphan believes her father is innocent and fights to ruin Mahishmathi’s power. How far can her daring journey take her?
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The first book of the Bahubali trilogy by master storyteller and popular novelist Anand Neelakantan. The Rise of Sivagami’s discoveries will captivate readers with intrigue, power, revenge, and betrayal. The series is translated into various regional languages such as Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Bengali, and Kannada.
The second novel in the Bāhubali series is a thrilling page-turner about ambition, love, loyalty, passion, and greed.
Seventh Book by Anand Neelakantan, Chaturanga, was released on August 6, 2020. Political intrigue reigns in Mahishmathi. Sivagami becomes bhoomipathi, allowing her to further avenge her father’s death.
The Mahishmathi maharaja’s two sons fight for the crown. Behind the scenes, a cunning political rival manipulates events to overthrow Somadeva. The Maharaja can typically outwit them, but will he win? Will one of his numerous enemies beat him at Chaturanga?
A fascinating and captivating read, this is the third and final book in the Bāhubali trilogy.
Sivagami’s mistakes strengthen her resolve to fulfil her father’s wish and end Gauriparvat’s evils. She fights on, yet unknown to Sivagami, Maharaja Somadeva’s rivals are closing in on the king, putting her at a disadvantage. Against Somadeva, the worst mistake is not doing checkmate, so the Chaturanga game continues.
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Sivagami, assisted by Somadeva, fights the kingdom’s adversaries and sees echoes of the man she hates. Sivagami must choose between love and ambition, values and deception, selflessness and envy to become Mahishmathi queen. What does she keep and release?
The Tale of the Naughty Flying Mountains
Though absurd, it’s true! Himavan, the mountain monarch, had magnificent wings under his snowy cloak. The rest went bad once Narada, the mischief-maker, caused pandemonium! The popular mythology author’s hilarious children’s chapter book series will have you rolling down the hill.
The book is the best introduction to Indian mythology for children by India’s famous mythological fiction writer. Other books in this Puffin Chapter book series feature Sudha Murty and Ruskin Bond. It has colorful crazy graphics. This book is a great gift for mythology readers and kids learning to read.
Hemanga, the swan, is appalled when Brahma, fed up with humanity, wants to erase them and start over. He begs Brahma to let him prove real love exists. Narada sends the small bird to Vidarbha. That celestial troublemaker, Narada, suggests Hemanga must unite Nala, king of Nishadas, and Damayanti, princess of Vidharbha.
Damayanti is a strong-willed beauty. She doesn’t need a prince to save her. Nala is creating a city for his tribe and has no interest in love. As a tribal king, he thinks Damayanti is too high.
Hemanga almost makes them fall in love until Kali hears his scheme. A small bird and Damayanti’s determination stand between people and Kali’s power.
The Very Extremely Naughty Asura Tales
All asura kids are mischievous and always up to something. They will push, pull, and tug until you yell, like the gods in heaven, especially Vishnu and Shiva, who are fed up!
Enjoy the hilarious tales of asura twins Kundakka and Mandakka, who hate school; clumsy Bhasma and pet pig Nakura, who cause trouble in the village; brothers Atapi and Vatapi, who like to eat ninety-six cartfuls of fruits for dessert; the great Bana, who claps with his thousand hands, and more!
Orphan brothers Baali and Sugreeva of the Vana Nara tribe were born into poverty and raised as slaves like most of their tribe. Many called them monkey men or vanaras.
The Vana Naras seemed hopeless due to the endless struggle between the Deva tribes in the north and the Asura tribes in the south. Baali refused to die enslaved. Baali founded a nation for his people with his adored brother Sugreeva.
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Kishkindha, the capital, gave liberated slaves a lot of hope. The city was of, by and for the people, without caste, creed, language, or skin colour prejudice.
Baali appeared like the perfect hero for a time. But fate intervened through gorgeous Tara, the tribal doctor’s daughter. Tara, romanticized by Baali and Sugreeva, started a fraternal battle that changed history.
Following are two books in the Ajaya Series based on Mahabharata, by Anand Neelekantan.
Roll of the Dice (Ajaya Series by Anand Neelekantan)
This novel is the product of the author’s reimagining of India’s great epic Mahabharata. The Pandavas are perceived as the Kurukshetra victors, but in Ajaya, the perspective is from the ‘unconquerable’ Kauravas as the protagonist.
Revolution is developing in India’s most powerful kingdom. Hastinapura’s noble patriarch Bhishma struggles to keep his empire united. Blind King Dhritarashtra and his foreign-born Queen Gandhari rule.
Kunti, the Dowager-Queen, dreams of her firstborn becoming king and recognized by all. Parashurama, the mysterious Guru of the mighty Southern Confederate, waits to rule from the mountains to the ocean. The book series is available in regional languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bahasa, Malayalam, and Gujarati.
Rise of Kali
Mahabharata is India’s greatest epic, so while Jaya is about the Pandavas from the perspective of the Kurukshetra victors, Ajaya is about the Kauravas, who were wiped out.
Anand Neelekantan, who voiced Ravana in the national bestseller ASURA, writes a gripping story that makes us reimagine the Mahabharata.
The Dark Age of Kali is approaching, forcing individuals to choose between duty, conscience, honour, humiliation, and life or death. Available in regional languages such as Telugu, Hindi, Marathi, Bahasa, Malayalam, and Gujarati.
Asura: Tale of the Vanquished
The epic narrative of victory and defeat, the Ramayana is narrated many times. Every Indian knows the thrilling tale of Rama. However, the voice of the defeated is unheard.
What if Ravana and his followers told a different tale? No Asura has told the story before. Available in regional languages such as Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam, and Bengali.
What is the significance of Anand Neelekantan retelling stories from the perspective of antagonists?
Anand Neelakantan’s “Asura” and “Ajaya” are retellings of the Ramayana and Mahabharata from the adversaries perspectives. Although Neelakantan’s interpretations are not historically accurate, many have liked them for their unique and thought-provoking perspectives. These works truthfulness is subjective.
These retellings challenge and offer other perspectives to traditional narratives. They challenge the biases in the original stories. It changes perspectives and questions absolute virtue and evil.
Is Ajaya: Roll of the Dice, true or fictional?
Ajaya: Roll of the Dice is fiction based on Indian mythology and history. In this fact-based, fictitious story, Anand Neelakantan used his imagination and creative liberty.
The book retells the Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, from the Kauravas’ perspective. Retelling the tale from a different perspective, the novel is not a historical recount.
Anand Neelekanthan is the bestselling author of Indian mythological fiction books for kids, teenagers and grownups. His novels and stories are essentially reimagining Indian Hindu mythology. This means that there will be alternative perspectives, opinions, and lessons.
So, if you are a devout of Indian Hindu religious stories and would rather not deviate from familiar narratives, then be aware. Anand Neelekantan’s novels have stories from different points of view.
These are based on the great Indian epics but do not twist the original to a great extent. The story will broadly be the same but there will be tweaks to the original. As the common clique goes about two sides of a coin, the righteous side has shortcomings too and the villainous side has their moral ethics too.
In conclusion, telling stories from the perspective of normally depicted enemies disrupts narratives, humanizes complex people, encourages empathy and understanding, exposes power structures, and examines moral grey zones.
It enhances the cultural debate and encourages readers to contemplate these topics.