Monday, 19 June 2017

Interview : Karan Vir Arora Author of The Sixth: The Legend of Karna: Part 1

In Conversation with Karan Vir Arora

1. Hi Karan. Thanks for being in conversation with me. I would first of all try to know how you formed an interest in mythology. When people are running behind romance and thriller how come you thought about writing mythology?

First of all I will not call it Mythology for me this is as true as reality for me it's Ancient history as I believe most of the events of our epics like Mahabharata were true Also Ancient Indian History part Mythology is fundamental to our culture and way of life, it is who we were our roots our Identity. Every street has a temple, every other city has an important mythical landmark. Romance, thriller, action genres are fickle. Our mass population is entertained by them today but twenty years ago different genres had people’s eyeballs. Mythology/Ancient History is ever interesting, ever fascinating and all-encompassing of every genre you can think of. I gravitated to it because I recognized its immortality both as an entertainment venture and a subject of interest & knowledge to share & make our youth aware about our rich culture & heritage. Thrillers are fun today, mythology has been fun since the birth of civilization.

2. I am also an ardent lover of Mahabharata and have read quite a lot of books on it. With so much in market how do you think your book would be different and appealing?

Literature in ancient history/mythology currently focuses on the “greatest hits” characters from our stories - Rama, Sita, Krishna even Arjuna, Characters that are instantly recognizable and have been represented over and over and over. With tens of thousands of gods and goddesses in our myths most books coming out are voluntarily limiting themselves to a handful of characters who we know all too well. My book holds a light on an under-represented character from a time gone by, a time forgotten and uses him as a mirror to express deep, hidden, under-represented reflections about our modern world.

3. Why Karna? Any specific inclination towards him, no doubt he moves the reader the most.

From childhood because of my namesake I got attracted & over time fascinated by him post researching & learning about him. Karna in my opinion is the perfect embodiment of ourselves in Mahabharata. Growing up in a society he clearly does not belong in, being rejected by one group due to his background only to end up being used by another group pretending to be family for that very background and all the while not being recognized for who he has become, what he wants to do & after facing so many obstacles, struggles, constant torture & onslaught of disappointments he carved his name in history as the greatest warrior in world also the most gracious philanthropist of his time & no doubt of this time too .… That is a great representation of our identity in the world irrespective of what century we live in. That draws me to him more than other historical  characters.

4. What can readers expect in this trilogy? What difference your book has which will make the reader glued till the end of the series?

Readers can first and foremost expect a new perspective of mythology. We know our epics as tales told to us from the stars but the nuts-and-bolts reality of war, pre-war, post-war time during these epics has not been explored. What was Karna’s true path in this complex battle? What do we not know about him in this story, and what can we learn from it? Another story thread is running in our modern day India that you will see in the first book is leading to greater, more terrifying, more glorious events. At the end of this series my fervent hope is readers have enjoyed a good story while gaining more knowledge about our epics in general and Karna in particular.

5. I found about Vimanika Comics. There is whole lot of comics displayed on the website. Please throw some light on this venture of yours.

Vimanika Comics has been the leader in Indian comic-book entertainment for the last ten years. We intersperse the medium of sequential art storytelling with our revered myths to bring to readers a unique, world-class experience. We sell mythological comics and comic-related merchandise around the world. Shiva, Durga, Karna, Kalki are some of our many god characters & personalities. We have published multiple bestsellers and won awards that cement our status as a flag-bearer of comic-book innovation & evolution. Please visit to learn more about our company.

6. From 2008 till 2017 how has Vimanika Comics evolved. Has it helped you in any way to write your own book?

When we started Vimanika was a small, budding startup company standing face-to-face with comic book giants and fighting to be recognized. In 2017 we are an internationally published book-house with multiple headquarters around the world, a steadily growing audience, a strong social media presence and strong partnerships with celebrities and organizations. We are proudly publishing daring, bold content while celebrating our culture’s roots. Our entertainment merchandise is also making waves around the world. Talking to new readers, learning new ways to tell stories, working with multiple artists has absolutely helped my writing. The words printed in my book owe much of their strength to our faithful readers and our well-wishers who have rooted for us since our early company days.

7. Why Mahabharata why not Ramayana? Is it only because of the central character of your book or is it because of the epic as a whole?

Mahabharata is on the surface a war epic but there is so much more to the epic than that. It studies love, family, greed, friendship and power in a way that is vastly different from Ramayana. Karna is also a vastly under-represented character which makes for interesting storytelling. He is a hero in some parts of Mahabharata, a villain in  others and a tortured tragic character in the rest. That is ripe fruit for good character development and stories.

8. Do you plan to write more after this trilogy? Want to try any other genre?

I am trying multiple genres in this trilogy. All good books are those that don’t clearly belong in a single genre. Much of the trilogy’s future will depend on the audience response we get. There is definitely a lot of possibility though, and I want to be optimistic.

9. Do you also prefer reading mythology? Or you try everything? What are your favorite authors, genres, books?

Yes I sure do ! Mostly Mythology/Fantasy & Ancient history. My favorite Authors to start with are J.R.R Tolkien (LOTR/Silmarilion/Hobbit) I owe it to my elder brother to introduce me to Mr. Tolkiens world of fantasy as it use to be our bedtime story every night :) Ashok Banker (Ramayana /Mahabharata series, Krishna Coriles). In more historical related titles NS Rajaram (In Search of the Historical Krishna) & Maj Gen GD Bakshi's (The Indian Art of War The Mahabharata paradigm) are some of the books that blew my mind and helped me to enter our rich, mysterious exciting world of Ancient History/Mythology more ferociously.

10. Any part of the book which:

● You want to change.
No part. Cause it's not being narrated through me but Karna himself. 

11. Your book has a very interesting cover image. Why did you choose this particular artwork? Don’t you think this goes a little off with the image of Karna?

In the first book’s cover we see Karna as a baby in a basket being slipped into unknown waters of blood by a lady (you have to read the book to find out who she is ;) .There is a reason why we went out to make sure the waters were bloody apart from the metaphorical implications, there is a sense of mystery & depth that I wanted to show, it is important that the readers know this is first and foremost a journey. Just like baby Karna we are on a journey that is new, unexplored, adventurous & dark in its own way. There is a time for the powerful warrior pose of Karna to grace our series’ cover, we should not be careful to jump to that yet.

12. Tell us about your journey after your book was completed? The evolution of a manuscript to a proper book? What role does the publishing house played in this?

My publisher, LeadStart, has been extremely supportive and helpful through the post-manuscript process. I have had the idea for this book for over 18 years now though I wrote down the raw story-line & plot 15 years ago it took me 10 years to pen down the actual script as I was not a naturally gifted writer in-fact nothing near one it is not only Karna journey as a warrior but my journey as writer too that is encompassed in these pages , like every creative endeavor it evolved and shaped itself as it was being formed and finished. With stories such as this it is important to let go of the control you think you have over the idea and let it live on the page . Once the manuscript was done I approached  LeadStart who was quick to choose it & provide everything necessary for the final book before Leadstart this script got rejected by 12 well known publishers lol. There was also a high chance for delays and mishaps (not unusual for any book publishing) but the folks at LeadStart ensured that the process was smooth and efficient.

13. Mythology is for mature readers, for the ones who have patience to grasp the aura. Do you think young readers have the patience to dive in mythology? Or do you think it’s the content more than the genre?

I don’t subscribe to the idea that mythology/Ancient history related stories & fiction is for mature readers. Ancient Indian history are narrated to most of us first at childhood by our grand mothers or grand fathers. There is a reason why you see just as many kids as adults at a Ganesh Chaturthi procession, just as much enthusiasm for children as for adults during Diwali or Sankranti. We underestimate our young readers as a culture. It has never been easier to read books than it is today. With the touch of a finger you can buy and read books from all around the world no matter where you are. Young readers can and are reading our myths and celebrating them, we just need to find the right tempo to present these to them. We don’t fully grasp the metaphors and depths in our epics until we become mature, but they are still enjoyable stories that invoke emotions that transcend age. 

14. What are your favorite incidents from the epic Mahabharata?

All of Mahabharata is a treat to me, but nothing beats my Karna his story & incidents in Mahabharata are the most fascinating i.e., his battles with all the five Pandavas climaxing at Arjuna was the most favorite incidents if you ask, just to see him destroying all of them then letting them go was unseen in the history of wars, & finally almost decimating Arjuna if only Krishna wouldn't interrupt in time it was overwhelming to say the least.

15. There are many characters that didn’t attract limelight though their lives were extra-ordinary for example, Maharaja Shantanu, Vidhur, Amba, your thoughts over this?

If it was up to the history and myth lovers in our nation every hero would have a day dedicated to their memory. While a few characters in our stories have international recognition, there are many who are forgotten today. That is not necessarily a bad thing; our stories are timeless. What might be forgotten today is celebrated tomorrow. The lack of limelight doesn’t take away the good qualities of these characters. Hence my dream to make such larger than life personalities known to the youth today as much as I can .

16. Would you like to pass on a message to your readers before they try your book?

Read as much as you can, celebrate our heritage as often as possible and do as much good Karmas as your life allows you. This is a message applicable to everyone irrespective of whether they pick up this book or not. To my readers specifically, if you feel lost, beaten, disappointed & dejected by life this is the boom for you, you will benefit greatly from Karna he is epitome of inspiration of how someone who had nothing was nothing become a King & the greatest warrior in the history of mankind not because he had a rich father (though his father was a god & though he was royal blood which he was unaware off) but because of his desire to achieve something, to be someone of significance to be the best him , to show life on his terms that he was not to be messed with no matter the consequence! 

Om Suryaya Namaha 

Thank You author :)

About the Book:

Karan vir Oberoi, a real-estate magnate living in New York has recurrent dreams of someone that looks like an ancient warrior clad in golden armour adorning golden earrings. He feels a deep bond with the warrior but the dreams remain a mystery to him. After miraculously surviving an assassination attempt, Oberoi is determined to seek answers. His quest for truth leads him back to his homeland India where his true destiny awaits him. Karna, the legendary hero from the Mahabharata is considered as one of the most valiant and generous kings of his era. He defied social customs and traditions to achieve immortal glory by his virtues and skills. He became a king and trusted friend of Duroyadhana - the crown prince of Hastinapur. Embark on a journey with Oberoi as the two worlds blend and as he seeks the answer to his existence. Will history repeat itself or will Oberoi choose to venture into an uncharted territory? Unravel the mystery. Read the legend! The Sixth - The legend of Karna is a masterpiece in storytelling by Karan Vir Arora - an Award winning CEO/Creative Director Vimanika Comics. He ushers us not only into his passionate research of fifteen years but the grandeur of a forgotten era, and presents before us a completely new and unexplored facets of Kama in his debut novel and the rumoured bestseller.

About the Author:

An Award Winning Founder & Ceo of Vimanika Comics which also is an Award winning Indian Comics Company. Also a Certified Personality development Trainer & Motivational Speaker.

An Award Winning Founder & Ceo of Vimanika Comics which also is an Award winning Indian Comics Company. Also a Certified Personality development Trainer & Motivational Speaker.

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