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Tag Archives: Amar Chitra Katha

The Oath of the Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi

The Oath of the Vayuputras (Shiva Trilogy, #3)The Oath of the Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi

My Rating★☆☆☆☆

A funky mix of pseudo-science, pseudo-history and pseudo-mythology, The Oath of the Vayuputras marks a new low for this trilogy. Amish ensures that anyone reading this book will emerge with a thoroughly muddled conception of Indian mythology and pre-history. This would be a valuable asset when the movie comes out.

I had criticized the plot mechanism in my previous review by comparing it to an Amar-Chitra Katha. I have to take that back. Amar-Chitra Kathas were really good, in fact. No I would venture to say that the plotting, the characterizations and the dialogues are in the time honored tradition of the beloved saas-bahu serials of India. You cannot go wrong with that.

I clenched my teeth and read through this one. And guess what, the book ends with a threat that Shiva willing, there might be more!

PS. I have so many rants, especially factual ones. But unless someone wants to contest me about the virtues of the book, I am not going to bother.

PPS. The Star Progression for the trilogy = 3,2,1.

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Posted by on June 2, 2013 in Book Reviews, Books

 

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Rogan Gosh: The Acid-Masala Curry Comic

Rogan GoshRogan Gosh by Peter Milligan

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Rogan Gosh is designed to be as incomprehensible to the reader as the original dish must have been for Milligan and McCarthy. The name comes from rogan josh, a spicy Indian curry dish, rich in chillies and dangerously red in appearance.

As Grant Morrison says, Rogan Gosh was a product of the new psychedelic period of the nineties. The focus turning from outer concerns to inner ones, along with the presence in many of the artist’s lives of the new psychedelic drugs.

It was also supposed to be inspired by the Amar Chitra Katha tradition of story telling. This was the reason I decided to take a look at it. The cover was a weird blue half-god, half-acidhead, with an assortment of images that assaulted my good sense.

But I decided to be forgiving and carried on. The first page of the comic convinced me that I will not only read this but also love it, no matter how much of a hallucinogenic trip it might be. McCarthy had reprocessed the lush, painted look of the Amar Chitra Katha comic books from India and also imbued them with a sort of deranged other-worldliness that was impossible to resist.

That tanned man with the mustache you see in the crowd is Rudyard Kipling himself, one of the possible contenders for the lead character in this book, where dream-world meets reality, shakes hands and sleep together.

Rudyard Kipling goes into a drug-house in search for truth after some serious accident involving his servant and then lapses into a euphoric dream in which he dreams of two characters who are pre-incarnations of a future “Karmanaut” called Rogan Gosh. And then the whole of the psychedelic adventures unfold.

That or the whole thing is a dream by a rejected lover who drinks and cuts his wrist and hallucinates ever closer to death.

Or, it might all be real and Rudyard Kipling might really have been a form that Soma Swami, the ultimate villain who tries to keep us all veiled in Maya, took to trick Rogan Gosh into destroying himself and he pre-incarnated as the two characters and all their adventures are real.

The text too flows between several narrative voices, including Rudyard Kipling and an unnamed dying youth representing the voice of bleak rational existentialism in the face of the uninflected void. Blending their stories like the spices of the Curry that inspired them, they dress it up and serve it forth for your dining pleasure.

Got all that? Now remove all the “Or”s and replace them with “And”s. Yup. Rogan Gosh is supposed to be an experimental story where it is not a Either/Or world but a world were dreams and reality are all happening at the same time, one inside the other, creating each other.

The concept is good and the presentation is mind-blowing. But, I wish they had given it the definition it deserved instead of making this such a free-flowing story with no ends or resolutions and absolutely no structure. The art work seemed slovenly at times and completely random at other times.

Don’t worry about all the plot details I covered here, they were not even half of the possibilities and they were not spoilers. You can’t really spoil a good curry.

PS. Today might be a good day to appreciate Rogan Gosh, especially if you too look like that cover after your Holi celebrations. Happy Holi!

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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Book Reviews, Books

 

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Book Review: The Secret of the Nagas

The Secret of the Nagas (Shiva Trilogy, #2)The Secret of the Nagas by Amish Tripathi
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I feel like I just finished reading one of the Star Wars installments. With Shiva as Anakin, Sati as Padme, unexplored regions with strange inhabitants with secrets and continous travels… The book was just too formulaic. That is not to say that it is not a good read – it is just that I was expecting the second book to be better than the first in some ways at least, and quite frankly, it is not.

How Amish managed to construct a whole sequel on such a flimsy basic premise is beyond me. And the liberties he took with the plot and the myths are not easy to forgive either… The entire series essentially boils down to a single mythological point – the Shiva-Ganesh showdown – the entire story is an elaborate construct to lead towards that, which was disappointing, especially since that too never happens after all that buildup. And the secret? It is just that Brihaspati is alive and working for the Nagas, which only means that the Nagas are on Shiva’s side. Now that was obvious from the first book and was no “secret”. And the author gives the impression that all the gods of India who are symbolically given strange forms were actually mutants/deformed nagas and were deified later. That is too much to swallow even if we play along and accept his version of the shiva myth

Overall, the story is good, the new take is innovative and refreshing at times, but the narrative style, especially during the abundant action sequences is amateurish and repetitive.

Stories of Shiva  Sati and Shiva, Shiva Parvati, Tales of Shiva, Ganesha, Karttikeya (Comic Book Format)

Glibly written, without much attention to the nuances of the mythology or to known historic facts, the book still manages to be a good, smooth story. Easy to read and enjoy, it truly is an amar chitra katha in novel form as the cover proudly(?)boasts…

While the book makes for a fun fast read, I cannot in good conscience reccommend it without telling that anyone who picks up the book looking for literary enjoyment is going to be terribly disappointed, but if all that is needed is a way to pass a few hours, then it might be worth it. Surely it will make a good movie someday, with the disappointing and predictable plot twists that is characteristic of most bollywood movies.

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Posted by on November 25, 2011 in Book Reviews, Books

 

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