New Delhi | Kausambi ruler King Udayana’s feelings for Princess Vasavadatta, the daughter of his captor and rival king of Ujjaini, and their elopement on an elephant are the stuff of legend and this classic age-old romance has been retold in a new book.
‘A Kingdom for his Love’ is co-authored by Vani Mahesh and Shinie Antony and published by Amar Chitra Katha. It is a retelling of Bhasa’s Sanskrit play Swapna Vasavadatta. The authors say they looked at multiple sources – Kathasarithasagara and Bhasa’s original Sanskrit play Swapna Vasavadatta as also the Udayana comic from Amar Chitra Katha while working on the book.
Thereby adding details from everywhere to our own inputs, fleshing out the story in a way that pleased us, says Shinie. According to Vani, Udayana and Vasavadatta is an endearing classic love story – a valourous young king falling in love with a beautiful feisty princess of the enemy land.
It was a happy experience to research for and write this novel. Shinie and I have strived to bring out a small part of the hidden literary wealth of India and hope people find it an enjoyable read, she said.
Asked how did this collaboration happened, Shinie says, Amar Chitra Katha has always been a treasure chest of mythology, and when they turned to adult fiction, it seemed almost biological.
Vani works with them and I have worked with them once upon a time, very briefly, so that when they approached us with the story we were only too happy. She says some stories just stand the test of time, they are timeless in that retelling, with some amount of modern subjective interpretation, makes sense.