Anand Neelakantan

Author, entrepreneur, cartoonist, artist, engineer, screenplay writer, family man, petroleum specialist.

Recognitions
  • Best Selling book 2012 – CNN IBN
  • Top 5 Indian Authors of the year- DNA 2012
  • Short listed for The Crossword Book Awards 2013
  • Short listed for IDBI Crossword Book Awards 2015
  • ‘Lifetime Award ‘ – Lit-O-Fest Mumbai 2017
  • Kalinga International Literary Award 2017
Sun Sign

Sagittarius

Three things people don’t know about you?

If I answer that it will no longer remain unknown.

What’s your greatest fear?

Heights

What is your greatest achievement?

It is in the future

High point of your life?

Birth of my children

Low point of your life

Death of my parents

Which living person do you most admire?

Ilayaraja

Who is your favorite fictional hero?

Ravana

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

Ravana

Who are your favorite authors?

Vedavyasa, Bhasa, Tolstoy, Basheer, R K Narayan, P G Woodhouse, Agatha Christie

What are your 5 favorite books of all time?

Mahabharata, Ramayana, War and Peace, 1984, Catch 22 and Astreix

Is there a book you love to reread?

War and peace

What are your 5 favorite movies of all time?

Manichitrathazhu, Iruvar, Eega, Schindler’s list, Jungle book and all Tom and Jerry cartoons

One Superpower you wish you had?

To be invisible and be present wherever I want to be.

Your epitaph would read? /Last line in your biography would be?

I lived life.

If you had a time machine to take you back to any country and any time period, where would you choose to be for your childhood, adolosent , adult life and silver years?

In the era of Dinosaurs for childhood, as a sailor in my youth during classical Hindu era and sail down to Cambodia, as a freedom fighter following Gandhiji for my silver years.

If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?

Singing

Which book you wish you had written ?

Catch 22

When and where do you write ?

Anywhere and everywhere

Silence or music?

Does not matter. I do not hear anything while I write except my characters.

One phrase that you use most often?

I wish

Do you have a writing ritual / superstition?

Write every day. No superstitions.

What’s your guilty reading pleasure?

Comic

Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?

The more you read the better you write

I was born in a quaint little village called Thripoonithura, on the outskirts of Cochin, Kerala. Located east of mainland Ernakulam, across Vembanad Lake, this village had the distinction of being the seat of the Cochin royal family. However, it was more famous for its hundred odd temples; the various classical artists it produced and its music school. I remember many an evening listening to the faint rhythm of Chendas from the temples and the notes of the flute escaping over the rugged walls of the school of music. Gulf money and the rapidly expanding city of Cochin have, however, wiped away all remaining vestiges of that old world charm. The village has evolved into the usual, unremarkable, suburban hell hole, clones of which dot India. Growing up in a village with more temples than was necessary, it was no wonder that the Ramayana fascinated me. Ironically, I was drawn to the anti-hero of the epic Ravana, and to his people, the Asuras. I wondered about their magical world. But my fascination remained dormant for many years, emerging only briefly to taunt and irritate my pious aunts during family gatherings. Life went on, I became an engineer; joined the Indian Oil Corporation; moved to Bangalore; married Aparna and welcomed my daughter Ananya, and my son, Abhinav. But the Asura emperor would not leave me alone. For six years he haunted my dreams, walked with me, and urged me to write his version of the story. He was not the only one who wanted his version of the story to be told. One by one, irrelevant and minor characters of the Ramayana kept coming up with their own versions. Bhadra, who was one of the many common Asuras who were inspired, led and betrayed by Ravana, also had a remarkable story to tell, different from that of his king. And both their stories are different from the Ramayana that has been told in a thousand different ways across Asia over the last three millennia. This is then Asurayana, the story of the Asuras, the story of the vanquished.

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