One of many things I still love since my childhood is reading fantasy stories. Glorified Kings, wars, slaves, and magic amaze me. However, most of the books I read were penned by foreigners. Though we Indians have our own Chandamama stories and Amar Chitra Katha novellas excluding Puranas and historical fiction books for many reasons, not many writers in India have attempted to tell a story of a king who was born of their imagination but I would say Rise of Sivagami is a grand beginning.
In the past, it was books being adapted to be filmed, but now it is vice-versa as writers are attempting to create a backstory from movies. S S Rajamouli, a renowned film-maker while he was directing Baahubali movies (The Beginning & The Conclusion) asked writer Anand Neelakantan to pen the story of Mahishmathi.
Writing a prequel to the story of the movie Baahubali: The Beginning which was a spectacle is not an easy task as it is not just another random story. Anand Neelakantan, the writer of Rise of Sivagami must be applauded as he wrote the history of Mahishmathi in just six months, without missing many details.
I was personally awestruck when I read, Sivagami saying, “I swear, I will destroy the Kingdom of Mahishmathi!”
I kept on reading the book and the pace was brilliant. Despite its flaws and too many characterizations, Rise of Sivagami stands up to the grandeur of the Baahubali movies.
The plot of the book revolves around Sivagami, daughter of Devaraya. Though Devaraya is a noble man, he is executed by the Mahishmathi King for treason.
Mahishmathi was initially occupied by a powerful tribe called “Vaithalis”. Vaithalis gave shelter to an orphan named Uthhama Varma and he steals their secret Gaurikanth which is the source to make invincible weapons. Thus, he hunts the Vaithali tribes with those weapons and the tribals are forced to flee their homeland. Finally, Uthhama Varma establishes the Mahishmathi Kingdom.
The story starts in the era of King Somadeva, grandfather of Amarendra Baahubali. Somadeva is blessed with two sons, Bijjaladeva and Mahadeva. Bijjaladeva, as picturized in movies (played by Nassar) is filthy and arrogant while Mahadeva has the opposite traits of his brother.
Coming back to the Gaurikanth, a blacksmith steals some of it from the arsenal of Mahishmathi years later. With this, the tribals attack the Mahishmathi palace. Prince Mahadeva defends his kingdom and earns the title of Veeradeva. Sivagami whose sole aim is to destroy Mahishmathi, saves the King from an attacker. So, she becomes a bhoomipathi (kind of royal executioner) and the first man she has to execute is the one who fostered her.
The book didn’t answer many questions and I don’t criticise the writer as it was planned to be a trilogy. Hope the author unravels the mystery beautifully. What I like the most is the pace as it kept me glued till the end. I also liked the story as Anand Neelakantan wrote the history of Mahishmathi in less than 500 pages elegantly. Along with the story, there are enough sub-plots to keep the reader engaged. The description of rebellion was awesome and is the first of its kind in Indian writings.
However, what I didn’t like is that it has too much violence. There were rape scenes and the descriptions of molestation which I couldn’t help but dislike. Along with that, there were too many unnecessary characters.
Baahubali movies have got their own identity but in terms of global standard, they lack many elements. However, Rise of Sivagami can live up to the global standard. I personally find it similar to the first installment of “A Song of Ice and Fire”. Now, we have our own George R. R. Martin who writes a great deal of story in less than an year, with same intensity in violence and incest. I really wish that the writer finishes his next book as early as possible since the first one has ended on a cliffhanger.
Every time I pick up a book to read, I always pray to god that I shouldn’t end up hating myself and the author. I had many such experiences but, there was this book titled “Everyone has a Story” by Savi Sharma. Thanks to my cousin who said this was the best book she read this year, apart from “This was a Man.” She also stated that the author is going to be the face of the Indian writing!
I took her advice seriously, bought the book only after reading the prologue and trust me it is well written and is one of the best prologues I had ever read from an Indian author. Thanks to the prologue, I decided to read the book.
In one stretch, I moved from chapter to chapter and voila the book was done in two hours. The cover of the book suggests it is an inspirational one. Now I am so inspired that I want to express what everyone should know before buying this book!
To begin with, “Everyone has a Story”, has a basic plot of a routine Bollywood film with too many twists and some great philosophical dialogues. Meera, the protagonist is in a search of a touching story which would move millions of hearts, sees this handsome guy in a cafe, instantly realizes that she found her story. The only question that boggled my mind was, how come an author realized that she found her perfect story as soon as one sees a person?
Leaving that for a moment, Meera’s boyfriend named Vivaan, wanted to quit his job and travel around the world. Okay, you must have read Thoreau, Emerson or Bill Bryson, but the way his character was paced is irritatingly stupid. The way Vivaan and Meera talk in their conversations looked like they were reading each other’s WhatsApp statuses.
There is a moment when Vivaan tells “If traveling was free, they would never see me again”. Okay! You have read enough quotes in social media Ms. Savi, but don’t write them as your words, trust me it is really irritating. On the contrast there is a character named Kabir who happened to be a love failure with a heartbroken past and most of the boys would connect to him.
Ms. Savi might have read enough Paulo Coelho and James Allen books as she played with their quotes and added some quotes from Tumblr and Facebook to make it into a book. Everyone in the story talks like veteran philosophers, with long dialogues, page length stories and of course more inspirational quotes (Oh please!)
Though it lacks realistic sense, I want to appreciate the author, for writing a book like this with some bottom level philosophy and a typical Bollywood drama. She has great marketing skills, the way you promoted your book on Amazon and Facebook, really helped her to reach that Million Copies Sold mark. Her writing is simple, honestly, I felt magical at places and it would attract many novice readers. I must admit that she has a great potential, but she must make sure that she has a great story that moves millions with good character depths.
I would like to buy “This Is Not Your Story” by Ms Savi and am personally waiting for it, expecting it to be a bit more reasonable. I want to be that lucky buyer who can win a writing workshop with Ms Savi Sharma to learn some marketing strategies from her.
Out of the numerous writers who wrote stories about love, Oscar Wilde set his mark by writing the story, The Nightingale and the Rose. He represented materialism with a female character. He also showed how an eternal sacrifice will be futile if it isn’t for a proper cause. He describes to the reader about love in such a fascinating way that every reader will be reminded about their love for loved ones.
When it comes to real life, the author wants us to judge correctly whether someone’s love is real or materialistic. The person who does it will avoid heartbreak. This was wonderfully shown through the student character who failed to understand that the girl he desired was materialistic.
The author explained through Nightingale that, if there is one feeling which cannot be precisely defined, it is love. The author encourages us to learn a lesson from the experience of a student with a girl who was materialistic. The concern shown by Nightingale was beyond usual and it cared for him so much. The best character of the story was the tree. It was a witness to Nightingale’s sacrifice, yet it still could not tell it to the young boy. The tree alone explains the bitter reality of life, as most of the time, we know the truth, but can’t express.
The Nightingale and The Rose is a definite way of explaining how poor choices would leave us astray, while sacrifices made without proper reason are futile.