★★★★ – Rating
Amish Tripathi’s closing declaration at the end of his one & a half thousand page Meluha Trilogy: “Today, we know the inherited tale of that war as one of the world’s greatest epics : The Mahabharat. If the Lord Neelkanth allows it, the unadulterated story of that terrible war shall also be told one day“; comes somewhat as a warning, necessitating a proper evaluation of his supposedly ‘unadulterated’ story of Shiva!
The Meluha Trilogy must have been, indeed ‘allowed’ by the Lord Neelkanth, as Amish would like us to believe! Well, Gods are generally generous with stories about them, if the success of innumerable mythological TV serials is anything to go by, let alone the popularity of Ramayana and Mahabharat over the ages. However, importance of the unprecedented marketing strategies employed by Amish & his team, in the face of initial ‘rejection’ by innumerable publishers, cannot be overlooked, in making the series a bestseller of all time!
The trilogy, as it stands, is totally a work of fiction. Like Ramayana & Mahabharat, it falls back upon several mythological stories, for instance, Shiva marrying Sati, the daughter of Daksha; Sati’s death, Daksha being responsible for that; Ganesh & Kartikeya being sons of Shiva; Shiva the archer, destroying the triple fortresses, Tripura etc. The author has made liberal use of his own imagination & judgment in presenting these and others, differently. For instance, Bhagirath, whose name is associated with Ganga, is shown to be diverting the course of Yamuna to merge with Ganga!
A major deviation is in the story of how Shiva’s neck turns blue giving him the title “Neelkanth”. In fact, the famous ‘drink’ of the Devas, referred-to as the “Somrasa” in Rigveda, is shown in a completely different light!
It was the “purpose” of Somras to turn Shiva’s neck blue, as said, “The purpose is not the destination but the journey itself… Somras had served its purpose for many, including me …& for Shiva, the purpose is to end the journey of Somras!” How it happens, is the purpose of the whole trilogy!
Just as Ramayana & Mahabharat are part of ‘Itihasa’, Amish has also taken help of ancient history. Fortunately for him, here again there is ample scope for his imagination to run riot! And he has been more than liberal!
To top it all, lucid details of armament & costumes, the landscapes & the extraordinary battle scenes have been presented in a very contemporary language; all of which render the trilogy beautifully suitable for celluloid! The depiction is replete with extensive troop movements; land to river transfers & vice-versa; as well as, river warfare! The producers will have to make effort for all these scenes, to look realistic!
All in all, the whole trilogy proves to be a treat to the readers and can guarantee to keep them hooked throughout the three books. Sure, there are instances of a slightly boring and over-detailed narrative, but Amish delivers the story beautifully enough to surpass its drawbacks!