The first of Shiva Trilogy, Immortals of Meluha is based on the belief that perhaps the actions, deeds and karma are the only determining factors to metamorphose an ordinary man to a god like figure or god!
Amish Tripathi in his book attempts to humanize the Hindu infinite ‘Mahadev’-The God of Gods and the destroyer of evil with philosophy as its underlying thesis and with a refreshing take on mythology but wavers in the characterization of the protagonist itself and digresses from the related theories.
The story is set in Meluha, a nearly perfect land of Suryavanshis which is at war over their sacred river ‘Saraswati’ with the baleful and savage Chandravanshis, who have a secret alliance with a cursed and disfigured group called Nagas, masters of martial arts.
Shiva, a young Tibetan tribal arrives in Meluha soon to discover that he is the legendary ‘Neelkanth’ who is envisaged to be their savior. Hauled suddenly to his destiny, by duty as well as by love and expectations, Shiva resolves to lead the Suryavanshi retaliation.
The story is neither very fluent nor gripping and is more indicative of a Hindi movie script with very filmy characters, with an over simplistic plot and cheesy dialogues .
It trips forward without any amazement or twists that you cannot pick well before.
Shiva smokes for serenity, dances for fun and is filled with young lust. He falls in love with Sati immediately, trails behind her and does all frivolous things to impress her. This pulp-hero-cum-rock-star image of Shiva feels extremely jarring and cliché. Excessive use of words expletives (yes, ‘idiot’ included) in his dialogues to make Shiva look human sounded inappropriate. Rather it is Shiva’s insecurities and inner conflicts that actually make the readers feel that he is human.
The other characters are flat and not well developed. Some scream their lungs out clamoring to Shiva to take up their cause (repeatedly, mind you!) which gets to you after a while.
While certain descriptions, sub plots and brief introductions to history were mesmerizing and I took a particular liking in the philosophy of evil, that what is considered evil or wrong by some may not be perceived in the similar way by others.
However, the concept of Somaras and inhuman idea of newly born babies being taken away from their mothers soon after their birth sounded harebrained and such have never been in existence in Indian society and culture, ever!
The book however, can be most certainly credited with
attracting the attention of the clueless Indian youth to their culture and mythology. Perhaps the catchiest part of the book? Its cover page!