Thursday, September 1, 2016

Bhima: The Man in the Shadows by Vikas Singh

Epic - Mahabharata is so vast that one can write a complete novel on its characters individually. Recently many mythological or alternate history novels are becoming popular, Vikas Singh has portrayed less individually discussed character in his book. Bhima, second pandava, who was always in shadow of either Yudhisthira or Arjuna is narrating story from his point of view in this book.

Blurb of book goes like this:
I am half-man, half-superhuman. I am the mightiest warrior of my time. I have violated my dharma and murdered a man in cold blood. I have, single-handed, wiped out a whole generation of my kinsmen. I have committed acts of unspeakable brutality on the battlefield. I have done it all for the love of one woman. A woman who loves my brother.
I am Bhima, the second Pandava. This is my story.
Possessed of amazing strength, fierce loyalty and great tenderness, Bhima as a character is almost always eclipsed by Yudhishtira and Arjuna. In spite of his many virtues, he is destined to be remembered as all brawn and biceps. Now, in Vikas Singh’s retelling of the Mahabharata, India’s greatest epic is narrated through the eyes of a hero who has never got his due. A fascinating account of a fascinating character — his extraordinary courage, his obsessive love for Draupadi, his deeply conflicted emotions about his brother, Arjun — this stunning work, written in a racy, entertaining style, provides the definitive answer to the question: What was it like to be Bhima?
There is no point for me to narrate Mahabharata story from Pandava's side as it is well-known. Story was narrated in first person like Bhima is reliving it. For those who have thought Bhima was a mindless fighter to aid Yudhisthira, story tells how he would have felt about that opinion. Few points highlighted about Bhima Character:
  • Bhima had mind of his own but he was bound to duty by her mother
  • He was deeply in love with a person who loved his younger brother. 
  • On moments of heroism or praise, Bhima stood in shadows of Yudhisthira & Arjuna, but he was the first one to appear when Pandavas were in need
Apart from Bhima's character, things I found new in book are:
  • Author has extended his imagination in book, and showed Devas and God as alien species to earth. 
  • Special powers and god acts were described in technological words, e.g. telepathy, Arjun's castrate, deva's vehicles. 
Pace of book was really too fast. Merely 180 pages for one of the major character is not proper justice to Bhima. Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 4 / 5 (For Bhimas Portrait) 
  2. Concept - 3 / 5
  3. Language - 2.5 / 5 (Specially due to recent time slang like f**k)
  4. Story Line - 3 / 5 
  5. Characters - 3 / 5
  6. Overall - 3 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon  & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads


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