Friday, November 10, 2017

Book Review: Ravana Leela by Radha Vishwanath

Ravana Leela – sounds strange as we always have heard of Ram-Leela. But, that’s the title of this new book by Radha Vishwanath. The title itself draws attention, and promises to be a unique read.

It has a powerful tagline - 'The One who forced God to become human.'

The story of Ravana Leela (Rupa Publications) is a unique take on Ramayana where author tells the story from Ravan’s point of view. It’s about his childhood, his relationship with his siblings, his love life, his aspirations, his achievements, his justification, and of course his journey from being a stubborn child to the the ruler of Lanka. Alright, we all know about it, so there’s nothing much to say about the story, but what makes this book different and interesting is its different approach.

When it comes to mythology, the story is not the star as we all have already heard/read about it. I believe that one thing that makes mythology intriguing is the lesser known characters/anecdotes. And, here this book is a winner! There are many interesting anecdotes, taken from various versions of Ramayana, which you might not have heard.

Writing is good, descriptions create apt imagery. However, it's a tad too descriptive for my taste sometimes, but it’s understandable that those details were somehow necessary for the development of the story, so I’m not complaining.

I like the way it started – the conversation between Dhara and Sumali. The kind of bond Saraswati and Narad share is endearing. I loved the way the author has concluded the story.

All the basic characters (of Ramayana) have been covered but this book is all about Ravana and Kaikasi –  their motive, aim and ambition, and transformation. Others, including Ram and Sita, are supporting characters. It also tries to highlight some social issues, voiced by outspoken Surpanakha.

Overall, Ravana Leela was a different read – a good reading experience. If you like reading mythology, you must pick this one.

About Radha Vishwanath

Radha Viswanath was born in Andhra Pradesh and spent most of her life in Delhi. Trained as a teacher, Radha entered journalism late in life. After a distinguished career as a political correspondent spanning three decades, she retired from active journalism. She has the honour of being the first woman journalist to be admitted in the long and distinguished category of parliamentary journalists, in 2006. An avid reader with a keen interest in Hindu mythology, she aims to bring the complexities of the Indian political discourse into intricate and rich mythological narratives


  1. Oh I'd like to read this one. I love different perspectives in mythology. We've grown up with just one side of the story, so it's good to delve into the thoughts and motivations of the other side.

    1. You will like this one. It's really different. Would like to know your views.