Friday, August 14, 2015
Author Interview : Olivier Lafont, author of ‘Warrior' (Part 1)
'If you like fantasy, almost as much as I do, you could give this book, 'Warrior' a shot. It is like Mahabharata met LOTR with a little bit of Star Wars and everything else, in so many book and movies, which we might have encountered,' was something, I felt while putting this review together.
But in this Interview, Olivier Lafont says something a little different. He says, 'The only story I drew inspiration from, in a limited sense, was the Mahabharata. I was always impressed by the epic scale of a war of kings, demigods, and gods juxtaposed with the story of a family conflict.' So, read on for more...
How did ‘Warrior’ happen? What is the research that has gone into it?
‘Warrior’ was originally a feature film screenplay, I wrote more than a dozen years ago. I then moved to Mumbai to write my first film ‘Hari Om’, and the script of ‘Warrior’ went into the drawer for a while. The story stayed with me however, so I eventually decided to turn it into a novel.
There’s been a lot of research into history, mythology, geography, and the many salient elements of the story, like metallurgy, ballistics, and quantum physics. All the subjects you’ll find in the book have been abiding interests, and putting them into the story required quite some time in research, deciding if the elements should have a place in the story, then figuring out how to fit them in aesthetically.
I am sure you have probably taken inspiration from a few other books? Is there any particular one, you were most fascinated by and why?
The only story I drew inspiration from, in a limited sense, was the Mahabharata. I was always impressed by the epic scale of a war of kings, demigods, and gods juxtaposed with the story of a family conflict.
Using this contrast, I created in ‘Warrior’ an armageddon scenario juxtaposed with the personal story of Saam’s traumatic history with his father Shiva, god of destruction.
A son of Shiva’s besides Karthikeya and Ganesha, is not a character, we come across every day. Why did you choose him and how does he fit into the entire scheme of things?
I’ve always been fascinated by Shiva, and all the ideas and ideologies associated with him. I created Saam, as his son because it instantly creates drama, a breach between the omnipotent being that is Shiva and the half-mortal Saam.
I wanted a flawed hero, but a powerful hero, and being the son of Shiva he has inherited vast portions of his father’s limitless destructive power.
So, a part of Saam’s struggle is with his own penchant and talent for destruction. He’s also out for revenge, but he’s tormented because he knows it’s a futile endeavour, it’s utterly impossible for him to match up to his father’s power. So, there are a lot of interesting dynamics going on, dynamics that play off Shiva’s identity and place in Indian culture.
How do you think your book, ‘Warrior’ is different from everyone else’s?
I think every book needs to be considered on its own, for the author’s vision, for the story it tells, and for the aesthetic of the writing. I wouldn’t want to compare ‘Warrior’ to any other book. I like to think of the book as an adventure, a personal story, and an epic action story.
How would you relate the life of Saam’s life to the lives today? Any similarities?
Beyond the son-of-Shiva-immortal-demigod aspect, I think Saam’s personal struggle with his identity, with the role of his family in his life, with who he wants to be versus what his past experience has defined him as, I think these are things that people can relate to.