Prince of Ayodhya

I just finished reading the book ‘Prince of Ayodhya’, the first volume of a series of books which are a modern re-telling of the great Ramayana by Ashok Banker.

The book is simply awesome. I was totally raptured by it and am still in awe of the story. I just had to read the book when I caught sight of it in the library, and needless to say, I’m happy I chanced upon it.

For those who don’t know, the original Ramayana was written three thousand years ago by Sage Valmiki. The story revolves around the noble Prince Rama of the kingdom of Ayodhya (and his family) and Ravana, the evil demon and Dark Lord of Lanka. It is a proverbial fight of good versus evil but will a 16-year old prince be able to face and fight the wrath of the 7-headed evil lord who has gained many boons from the gods with his austere prayers, including immortality? Well, you will have to read the book to find out!

I have seen many circles of friends discuss many books, but I did not get to hear about Indian books and authors that much, but this is one particular book (and series) that I am surely going to be raving about. I am glad to know a bit more of Indian mythology and our own history and culture.

I give the book a 9/10. The 1 point is down simply because its a 7-book series and the last 3 volumes are not published yet! What I really like about the book is the way the characters are etched and described. They seem so ‘human’.

Also, more good news – I read on his website that Ashok Banker has already started to work on the other great Indian epic – the longest epic ever written, the Mahabharata.

What I would really like to see as well is a real inspiring movie on the Ramayana as well, something with the vision and inspiration and fascination that Peter Jackson brought alive in the ‘Lord of the Rings’. Is that a bit too much to expect? I don’t know. I think we’re better off not having a movie at all rather than someone try to make it and make a total mockery out of it. Well, that’s the pessimist in me speaking; even then, until such a thing happens (and I doubt it ever will), the excellent books by Banker are here and I’m enjoying every moment of it.

Update : OH MY GOD! … Notice the time I published this post – a good half an hour after midnight. Today morning, mom called me for breakfast. I am not in the habit of reading the newspaper (too much negative news, too few positive developments) but since I didn’t have a book to read (remember, I just finished reading one), I picked up the newspaper to read. I see Bangalore Times and notice the top story – Dramayana 2005:

New Age guru Deepak Chopra and filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, along with Chopra’s son Gotham and Sharad Devarajan of the Gotham Entertainment group, have created a global development company. Gotham Studios, which will churn out a number of comic book projects, the first being Kapur and Chopra’s interpretation of the Ramayana.
Devarajan says the Ramayana project will be Asia’s Lord Of The Rings. "We also envision turning it into a landmark major movie".
Read the full article with sneak peek sketches.

I am still recovering from the shock of the coincidence. Here, I thought a Ramayana movie like LOTR and Matrix would be so good. Here, Shekhar Kapur and gang have big plans for the same! :shock:

I am praying and hoping that he makes a good movie. He better not muck it up.

Update : Just got ‘Siege of Mithila’ (Book Two of the Ramayana) from the library :D

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Jamie Larson