Going the warrior’s way

DC | AMRITA PAUL
Published Jan 18, 2015, 6:33 am IST
Updated Jan 10, 2016, 8:38 am IST
Warrior is an adventure fiction fantasy novel set in modern India, which is juxtaposed with mythological elements
Actor Olivier Sanjay
 Actor Olivier Sanjay

Actor Olivier Sanjay Lafont wanted to be a writer for as long as he can remember. Most people can recall Olivier as the nagging Suhas Tandon from the film 3 Idiots, the man who never hesitates to put a price tag on things. But the actor who has appeared in films like Paa, Guzaarish and numerous television commercials has also written extensively throughout his acting career and his first book, Warrior, was released recently.

Olivier says, “Warrior is an adventure fiction fantasy novel set in modern India, which is juxtaposed with mythological elements. The protagonist of the book is Saam, a demigod and the son of Shiva, who is forced to come out of hiding to save the world in three days from a merciless blizzard, set to force by his indomitable father.”

Olivier, who pursued his graduation in English literature and theatre from Colgate University in the US, moved to Mumbai in 2002 while working on a feature film script. During the same time he was also writing the screenplay of a larger than life epic movie, which had to be shelved due to the other projects which kept coming his way. “And only some time back, I went back to the script and rewrote it in the form of a novel,” he says.

Living in India since the age of 7, the French actor has been well versed in Indian mythology from a very young age owing to his father who was a historian and archaeologist keen on probing the historical events of the Indian subcontinent. He adds, “My dad was posted in India and it was he who first introduced me to Amar Chitra Katha comics, which are a wonderful retelling of different Indian tales, after which I went on to read other mythologies as well.”

For his book, which was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize, Olivier had to research the history of India as the novel travels back and forth in time, owing to the fact that the immortal protagonist Saam is 400 years old. “I had to read up about the colonial empire in India and also prior to that, as the book travels through places like the Vijayanagar empire in the South, Nalanda University in Bihar and the Ming empire in China,” he shares.

Olivier, also an avid reader of fiction fantasy genre, says that one author whose work he has been amazed by recently is Mark Lawrence for his trilogy, The Broken Empire. “In his books, there is an awesome new twist at the end of every 10-20 pages, where the story takes a complete new turn which is why as a reader I find his books unputdownable.”

After the release of the Warrior, Olivier, a true multitasker, is now looking forward to making a feature film on a humorous script he has written. “I have a lot of ideas for a second novel — it could be a science fiction, crime thriller or even a non-fiction book. I am exploring several of my interests, and hopefully will start working on a second book soon,” he concludes.





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