Saturday, August 07, 2010

The book review trilogy: 'THE IMMORTALS OF MELUHA'

Welcome back in time about four millenia. In around 1900 BC and in the kingdom of Meluha (where Kashmir is today). The kingdom of the Suryavanshi (followers of the sun). The ideal kingdom and the ideal way of life established by Lord Ram centuries earlier, but which is fighting a losing battle against their natural adversaries, the Chandravanshis. And the legend goes, only one person can save the Suryavanshis. And that person happens to be 'a rough-hewn Tibetan immigrant'. A person who we all worship today as Lord Shiva !! The neelkanth !!

'The Immortals of Meluha' is of the racy thriller kind, cleverly marrying mythology and fiction, though there is, probably thankfully, less of the former and more of the latter. The first in the a trilogy of books by Amish (who, incidentally is not a priest or a religious person but a 35-year old IIM Kolkata grad with a day job in the insurance business), the central point of the book is to tell the 'story of the man, whom legend turned into a God'. So the book starts of with Shiva as a tribal leader of his clan living near Mount Kailash, spending his time battling his rival tribe the Pakritis and smoking marijuana through his chillum. Until a chance meeting with a foreigner from the land of Meluha reveals to the latter Shiva's great secret, his blue throat, the neelkanth. From that moment on, he is revered as the saviour of the inhabitants of the kingdom of Meluha, the Suryavanshis. The crux of the book (and of the forthcoming books of the trilogy) is to describe his life and times in the kingdom of Meluha and how he carries out the task assigned to him. And Amish does a good enough job of it.

As mentioned, the book takes us back four millienia and offers us a glimpse of the imaginary kingdom of Meluha, with its ideal way of life. However, and in a pleasant surprise, the tone and the language of the book is modern (imagine Shiva saying words like 'dammnit' !!!). That is probably what makes the book a page-turner. As also the fact that the references to reality do not hamper the narrative, thus allowing fantasy and reality to live in harmony. And the book has all the elements of a Bollywood potboiler: fast-paced action, flashbacks and, definitely not the least, romance between Shiva and the princess of Meluha, Sati (later to be called Parvati) !! Undoubtedly, would be adapted to the silver screen sooner than later.Also, the way of life of the Meluhans is described very well, allowing the reader to visualize vividly how the kingdom, its people and their way of life would look like.

So if you are a lover of Indian mythology and do not mind a good fantasy woven around it,'The Immortals of Meluha' is for you. So go ahead and lap it up !!!!


1 comment:

rohit said...

An enjoyable read The Immortals of Meluha by Amish . loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and original, this book is going in by "to read" list.