Anand Neelakantan

It was all smiles when a dark-haired portly gentleman from southern India perched himself on the Guest Author’s chair at the 44th session of An Author’s Afternoon. His lively presence and contagious sense of humour made Anand Neelakantan the darling of the audience. He was in conversation with Esha Chatterjee.

Anand, through his first book Asura: Tale of the Vanquished, presented himself as an iconoclast. He dared to see the world from the eyes of Raavana and Duryodhana – the eternal villains - from Ramayana and Mahabharata. The book took six years to the print but struck a chord with the readers to become a bestseller within a week of its release. Success continued to chase him with his Ajaya series.

An alumnus of Government Engineering College of Kerala, Anand worked as an engineer for the Indian Oil Corporation. Later, in his new avatar, he honed up his creative skills as a cartoonist. His association with reputed dailies like The Hindu, The Times of India and The Indian Express encouraged him to write novels.

During his salad days, Anand used to brag that James Cameron would call on him some day. Years later he did get a call from director S S Rajamouli of Bahulabi fame who inspired him to write visually. That is how Anand got to write Rise of Shivagami in 100 days, which is a prequel to Bahubali.

Anand told the audience how writing tele-serials was a different ballgame. It is about laughing all the way to the bank by dumbing down things. In contrast, short stories, Anand’s favourite, got him only three grands at most while cartoons fetched him not more than Rs 50.

Recipient of the Kalinga International Literary Award, Neelakantan shared his views and struggles as a novelist. Anand has the gift of the gab and held the audience spellbound.

Shree Cement sponsored the event organized by Prabha Khaitan Foundation in association with t2, Siyahi and Taj Bengal.


Watch a glimpse of the conversation