Decoding success of Shiva trilogy

From tattoos to chillum, Shiva has a lot to offer to new age lifestyle.

By Ritika Jain/Zee Research Group

For ages, Hindu mythological God Shiva has appealed to youth because of his rough unkempt life. Today’ generation is not an exception. The generation Y has a lot more to identify in their new found “dude amongst the Gods”. From tattoos to chillum, braided hair to cheetah print, love for music to epic tanadav dance, Shiva has a lot to offer to new age lifestyle.

And author Amish Tripathi has managed to capture the raging phenomenon in his trilogy. Two novels of the trilogy – The Immortals of Meluha and The Secret of the Nagas – are already bestsellers. Shiva ruled our mythology and fashion but with this trilogy, he invaded the territory of the perfect protagonist.

In the books, Shiva considers himself no lord, the writer deliberately makes readers believe how a great warrior was transformed into the God. Shiva as an outsider manages to help those in need due to his ability to think without being biased. He embodies common man’s dilemma to choose between good and evil.

He is not just a lord but a lover who suffers in pain. He strives for Sati’s attention and reciprocation of love and travelled a long road before actually winning her. His turmoil in dealing with pressure of being the “Neelkanth” is as real as the leader managing huge expectations of his team.

Ad film maker Prahlad Kakkar believes, “His (Shiva) journey is symbolic of every human’s journey into life and enlightenment. From love to war to evil and to good. Where perception is truth and truth is manipulated constantly.”

Not just novels, Karan Vir Arora,CEO of vimanika comics, said one of their best selling comics was also based on lord Shiva; “Shiva-the legend of the immortal.”

Amish not only civilizes concept of God but also satirizes society’s take on deformity. The whole group of banished Nagas comprise of best of warriors with heart of gold that are always up for other’s help. With the course of “The Secret of Nagas”, readers along with Shiva learn that appearances can be misleading. Subconsciously every reader feels empowered and especially those who have to actually suffer from such discrimination.

Readers feel accredited with two line description of age old mantra “har har mahadeva” that everyone has God within him. It elevates common man to greatness of God. In the competitive world of today, this instills great confidence among the readers.

Success of Tripathi’s Shiva trilogy confirmed mythology as hot selling theme. Many writers have coined on this trend in their novels and lately in comics too. Saurav Mohapatra from liquid comics, who is behind the comics like Devi, The Sadhu etc. calls writers “professional liars”. He believes that “as a storyteller the only obligation is to tell a good story, facts are incidental. Mythology for me is a set of parables and as long as the spirit remains intact, a writer or storyteller shouldn`t be bound by the confines of dogmatic continuity. It`s better to focus on telling a good story.”

Novy Kapadia, associate professor of English at Delhi University asserts -“It is perfectly right to use mythology sensitively and imaginatively for fiction. It can make people look at mythology in a new perspective.”

Kapadia supports use of everyday English in today’s novels which allows readers to connect with the story line. Easy language in books of trilogy made it easy to fantasize the picturesque locations it incorporates. One can actually feel chills of mansoravar and dust of swadeep.

Besides, writers’ great marketing skills resulted in record breaking sales of around 550,000 copies in just over two years and continue till date. The eye-catching book cover and the awe-inspiring trailer films were designed by his friends Rashmi Pusalkar and Taufiq Qureshi. He used social networking sites like face book and twitter to raise awareness around book releases.

“I think the fantastic covers good marketing of my books have played a huge role in their success” says the writer who was turned down by over 30 publishers initially.

Mohapatra, from liquid comics too adds to the benefits of this platform for promotion. According to him, “Indian literature is diversifying in genre and social media has given us a direct line to our readers. I think this will end up democratizing the market, which means there`ll be a ton of crap and a few gems in between. At least, readers will have a choice.”