One thing that keeps author and filmmaker Jyotin Goel happy is storytelling, be it in words or images. Author of the Sept-opus series, his latest novel Bheem: Destiny’s Warrior takes a look at modern India through the eyes of the legendry character Bheem, who time travels to the 21st century. He is here to seek out the four humans who can develop an antidote. But his journey becomes tough as Ashvatthama, his enemy from the past, has also journeyed to the present. The author speaks about his book and more.
Where did you draw inspiration to write a story about Bheem and why choose him?
Bheem is the only mythological human hero with a direct Asura connection (wife: Hidimbi, son: Ghatotkach), a feature that is vital to the plot of my novel. Moreover, Bheem is extremely interesting because he is both immensely strong and desperately weak. Despite his physical power, he is dominated emotionally by others — Krishna, Arjun, Draupadi, Yudhishthir. So here is this hero, famous only for his strength, in a completely new world, the 21st century, forced to make decisions, to use his own mind for the first time. I found it enthralling. And I know this sounds unbelievable, but the entire plot of the book just popped into my head one day! In a way, I didn’t choose Bheem — he chose me!
Was putting Bheem in a contemporary setting a challenging process?
Very challenging! Bheem had to retain every characteristic of a man of the past and yet function effectively in our era. I had to think up new ways to use ancient concepts like Samay and Sesha Nag. I used language, tone, the tenor and cadence of Bheem’s speech, a literary vocabulary, all to differentiate Bheem (and other legendary characters) from the modern world. And because Bheem’s sheer presence would have destabilised society, I exposed him to present-day humans very selectively.
An author who has inspired you?
I am in awe of many authors. I was in college when I read J.R.R. Tolkien for the first time. The Lord of the Rings hit me like a thunderbolt. And I’m happy to say I’ve never recovered!