Q&A: DEVDUTT PATTANAIK
Devdutt Pattanaik, author, on his latest book, fans, critics, and illustrating his works
Q. What’s the story behind your latest book, Shyam: An Illustrated Retelling of the Bhagvata?
After writing about the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, the third great Hindu epic, the Bhagvata Puran, was an obvious next step. Besides, I haven’t come across anything else that tells the story of Krishna from birth to death.
Q. How did you start illustrating your books?
Drawing comes naturally to medical students. But 90 per cent of the people don’t realise that I’m the illustrator of my books. A lot of artists have been generous in praise.
Q. How do readers respond to your work?
I have readers telling me that I make things simple and accessible, that my writing is highly informative, that it’s a pan-Indian view and a refreshing perspective. That the books make them happy.
Q. And the critics?
Very few critics are interested in the subject of mythology. Mythology has been a stepchild since colonial times. There’s only academic material. And academics write for each other. I enjoy the first mover’s advantage. Every day, I discover new things. It’s like Alice in Wonderland. I don’t have a particular point of view.
Total number of pages 100 (including cover pages)