Published: 19th October 2020
Up for an adventure? Pick up filmmaker Soumitra Ranade's first action-adventure novel for children
Out on bookshelves on October 20, Soumitra Ranade's novel Bhrigu and the Palace of Mirrors is high on the mystery and intrigue factor. We find out what's it all about during a chat with the filmmaker
Soumitra Ranade has written screenplays, produced and directed films and series for kids before, and with his debut book Bhrigu and the Palace of Mirrors, for which he has done the illustrations as well, he wants to venture into writing for them. "And frankly," the filmmaker tells us, "working on this book has been liberating for me. I worked on it alone, I don't have to instruct anyone nor keep the budget in mind so I can go off to any level of fantasy without actually thinking about shooting it later!" And this book, published by Hachette India, has given him the opportunity to take it to another level.
"Children's literature almost always falls in the realm of being cute, but I think kids are capable of digesting edgy and mysterious stories more than anyone else," says the auteur, who recently remade the classic Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai? which is currently streaming on Netflix. So this book is packed with chills and thrills about how ten-year-old Bhrigu turned sleuth to uncover the mystery of his missing father.
Book cover | (Pic: Hachette India)
And it was this FTII alumni's own children who pushed him to really get his creative juices flowing. Because for him, it all started when his children would incessantly bug him for new stories every day and simply refused to take no for an answer. So much so, that the filmmaker calls this process his "lab" and confesses that he has about 50 stories like the one he has written about.
Coming to the book itself, which is set to be launched on October 20, it was about three years back when the filmmaker visited the Bhool Bhulaiya at Bada Imambara in Lucknow which has over 1,000 passages and around 489 identical doorways, so it literally is a labyrinth. He saw a bunch of students let loose, the teachers were worried but the students were in the true mood for exploration. Ranade, who previously wrote the picture book Tak-Tak!, went back to Mumbai and wrote a thriller story based on the same premise and it was only during the lockdown that he decided to focus on it.
Drawing our own conclusions
Ranade's work has been so prolific that one of his earliest achievements, of winning a gold medal from Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai, often gets dwarfed. But he got to really brush his skills when he got down to illustrating this book. "I had lost touch with art over these years and this was my way of getting back to it," he says. While the initial illustrations are descriptive in nature, bringing out the characteristics of Bhrigu, but as the chapters go by, they get more and more evocative, "they'll show you the state of mind of Bhrigu," says the Co-founder and Chairman of Paperboat Design Studios.