07 June, 2013

#BookReview :: Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior – Prince by Anuja Chandramouli

Arjuna is the immortal tale of one of India's greatest heroes. These pages retell in riveting detail the story of the Pandava Warrior-Prince who has captured the imagination of millions across centuries. This is the intense and human story of his loves, friendship, ambitions, weaknesses and follies, as well as his untimely death and revival, his stint as a eunuch, and the innermost reaches of his thoughts. Told in a refreshingly modern and humourous style and set against the staggering backdrop of the Mahabharata. Arjunas story appeals equally to the average, discerning reader and the scholar. It spans the epic journey from before his birth, when omens foretold his greatness, across the fabled, wondrous landscape that was his life. 

Dabbling with Indian Mythology is in and you will not hear me complain about it. Indian Mythology has always interested me. It started with my mother and grandmother telling me stories as a child and the interest still continues. And you have to admit that they are much more appealing than the not-so-heart-warming-love-stories that have flooded the market. I mean it is not really difficult to choose between titles like ‘Of Course I Love You! Till I Find Someome Better’ and ‘Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior – Prince’… I’d choose my warrior prince every single time.

‘Arjuna’ is a character from Mahabharat that has always intrigued me. I mean his dedication to the art of archery is really commendable. He had me at the incident when during his lessons he saw only the bird’s eye instead of everything else like those around him. So, while picking up this book, I had really high expectation from it.

Anuja Chandramouli has expertly woven in the story of Arjuna’s life in this novel with her crisp language and smooth flow of writing. The chapters were clear and each complete in its own right. It was almost easy to imagine that I was reading a series of short stories relating to the same cast. Yet they connected and complimented each other very well to form a novel that can claim some acclaim.

The problem that comes when you are playing with such mythological characters is the fact that these characters have always been a part of our lives and we all feel that we know them, be it through the school curriculum or through B.R.Chopra’s Mega serial. Picking up a book about him, I already had an image of Arjuna in my mind. The author here has stuck to portraying Arjuna as we all know him. The stories narrated are also the ones that we have always known about him. She has stuck to the original version and has only added interesting bits of titbits here and there. Though that fact made it more comfortable for me to read the book, I couldn’t help but wonder if there could have been more to the book had the author chosen to take a different approach. I wanted more!

Overall, it surely made for an interesting and entertaining read.

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