When Bhakt Prahlad’s ordeal went beyond his tolerance, then tearing apart the pillar out comes the Lord Narshima, half lion and half human, known to be the fourth avatar of God Vishnu. This story of Avatar and his devotee has been humanised and retold by Kevin Misaal in his new series of Mahaavatar.
Narasimha preferred solace more than warfare. Cited as a prodigal son and a reluctant leader, the turn of circumstances forces Narashima to again jump into the battlefield to fight Andhaka, the blind Asura Prince and Hiranyakashyap, who were hell bent to acquire Pashupatra weapon for their personal reasons. On the parallel lines, run Prahlad's story.
More of fantasy, Less of Mythology
Kevin Missal has built a completely new story line with just keeping the basic essence of the original story intact. It seems like dismantling the old house, just keeping the base and then renovating and transforming it looks, both interior and exterior with modern fittings, fixtures, flooring etc.
The narrative has multiple threads with many subplots and sub stories going on with multiple characters in lead. Narasimha, Prahlad and Hiranyakashyap’s stories were the primary ones around whom all the plots revolve.
The story lacks imagination in case of Narashima's part. A subtle influence of Immortal of Meluha by Amish Tripathi was apparent. The same concept of somas, a rising evil in the form of Pashupatra, Narasimha’s confused state of mind over evil and good and a few more. You can’t help, but compare.
The author Kevin Missal has cleverly synced the current evil issues and challenges of the modern society and the country into the story by weaving it with Prahlad’s story. The way Prahlad’s story maneuvers, a whole new modern scenario has been prepared on which this famous father and son duo would be pitted against each other. I am eagerly waiting to read more about this modern version of Prahlad and Hiranyakashyap relationship crisis and showdown.
The spark which lacked in the story of Narasimha was compensated through Hiranyakashyap. His character steals the show. His part was actually unique and fresh to read. The way his story evolved was outstanding and marvelous. It is just because of this character, I am actually looking forward to reading the second book of the series.
There’s another reason to wait for the next book. A bitterness seems to be inevitable between the relation of Prahlad and Narasimha, which is expected to further spice up the already high voltage complicated storyline. It will be interesting to see how things turn out.
The story has a huge ensemble of characters which the author simplified for easy understanding and remembrance by giving clear description and back stories for each one of them. Despite of this, I failed to develop any strong feelings for any of them. I was both sympathetic and indifferent. In this story of Dharm and Adharm, evil and good, the author Kevin Missal didn’t draw any clear demarcation between the characters. All his characters were unidimensional and grey shaped. Perhaps this is the way we all are.
Mind Blowing Episode
A special mention for the Ahalya's episode in the story. It was completely mind boggling. I read the whole part with bated breath and wide eyes. For once I thought the author has messed it, but then he was bang on target. I loved it. He was so correct in his assessment.
Whatever might be the author’s argument, when it comes to language, it should resonate with time period and characters. The kind of language you use is necessary to connect with the readers, but when story is ancient and characters are from old age, modern language comes as a shocker leaving an impression that the author hasn't done his homework properly.
I will consider Narasimha a decent read. The story of Hiranyakashyap was a saver and also further builds up the interest in the upcoming books in the series.