Anand Neelakantan

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Anand Neelakantan
Anand Neelakantan
Anand Neelakantan
BornThrippunithura, Kerala, India
  • Novelist
  • screenwriter
  • public speaker
  • columnist
Alma materGovernment Engineering College, Thrissur
GenreMythological fiction
Years active2012 – present
Notable worksAsura: Tale of the Vanquished
Ajaya: Roll of the Dice
Ajaya: Rise of Kali
The Rise of Sivagami
SpouseAparna Anand

Anand Neelakantan is one of India's top selling authors with more than 13 books to his credit. Anand is also a columnist, screenwriter, and public speaker. He is known for writing mythological fiction and has authored Twelve books in English and one in Malayalam. He has also written screenplays for popular television series in Hindi in various GEC and OTT platforms. He has been writing a column named Acute angle in the New Indian Express since 2017.[1] Anand has acted in two Advertisement films and has also played the role of the antagonist Ettappa Naicker in the Doordarshan Television show Swaraj.[2] He follows the style of telling stories based on the perspective of the antagonists or supporting characters of a larger work. His debut work Asura: Tale of the Vanquished (2012) was based on the Indian epic Ramayana, told from the perspective of Ravana—the first book in his Ramayana series. It was followed by series of books based on characters from Mahabharata and Baahubali. His books have been translated to different languages such as Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Assamese, English, and Indonesian. Anand has written screenplays for popular Hindi television serials like Siya Ke Ram in Star TV, Mahabali Hanuman in SONY TV, Chakravarthy Ashoka in Colors TV, Sarfarosh in Netflix, Swaraj in DD National etc. He has written the story for the OTT series TAJ in Zee5

Asura was featured in the list of "100 books by Indian authors to read in a lifetime" by Amazon Books editors.[3] The book has sold more than a million copies across the years. Three of his books have been shortlisted for Crossword Book Award during the respective years. He was listed as one among the "100 top celebrities in India" in 2015 and 2017 by Forbes India. Anand also writes a column for The New Indian Express on current affairs and his fortnightly column is called "Acute Angle".[4]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Thripoonithura a village on the outskirts of Cochin in Kerala. Anand Neelakantan is an alumnus of Government Engineering College, Trichur in Kerala. He worked for Indian Oil Corporation from 1999 to 2022, before leaving the corporation for a full time career in writing. He draws cartoons for Malayalam magazines.[5] He is married to Aparna Anand and they have two children: Ananya Anand and Abhinav Anand.


In Mumbai, 2018

His debut novel Asura: Tale of the Vanquished[6] was published by Leadstart Publishing[7] on 14 May 2012. The book became a surprise bestseller, breaking into the top seller charts within a week of its launch.[8] His second book was based on Mahabharata told from the perspective of Kaurava and was part of a two-book series. Ajaya: Roll of the Dice was released in December 2013 and the sequel Ajaya: Rise of Kali was released in July 2015.[9]

Anand Neelakantan wrote the official prequel series of novels for the Baahubali film series. Titled Bahubali: Before the Beginning, it is a three-book series which acts as a prequel to the films. The first book of the trilogy, The Rise of Sivagami, from the Bahubali: Before the Beginning trilogy released on 7 March 2017.[10] S. S. Rajamouli, the director of Baahubali series, revealed the cover of the book at the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2017. The book became a blockbuster and was shortlisted for Crossword Popular Award 2018. Netflix has announced a webseries on the book. The second book in the series, Chaturanga was released on 6 August 2020. The third book, Queen of Mahishmathi, was released on 28 December 2020.[11] Anand's debut Children's book, The Very Extremely Most Naughty Asura tales for Kids[12][13] was published on 28 September 2020 by Puffin books. Anand Neelakantan's fifth book Vanara,[14] the legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara is published by Penguin Random House and is a best seller. DAR films and KR movies have announced that they have won the film adoption rights and will be producing a multilingual film on Vanara.[15][16][17][18] Anand's Malayalam work Pennramayanam has been published by Mathrubhumi Books.[19] Storytel published Anand's first Audio drama, Nala's Damayanti on 14 March 2022. The audio drama has appeared in 9 Indian languages.

List of works[edit]


Ramayana based
  • Asura: Tale of the Vanquished (2012)[20]
  • Bhoomija: Sita (2017)
  • Shanta: The Story of Rama's Sister (2017)
  • Ravana's Sister: Meenakshi (2018)
  • Vanara: The Legend of Baali, Sugreeva and Tara (2018)
  • Pennramayanam (Malayalam) (2019)
  • Valmiki's Women (2021)
Mahabharata based

Bahubali series
Children's books

The Very Extremely Most Naughty Asura tales for Kids (Puffin Books) (2020)[12]

The Tale of the Naughty Flying Mountains (A Puffin Chapter Book) (2023)

Audio Books
  • Many Ramayanas, Many Lessons ( (2021)[12]
  • Nala's Damayanti ( (2021)[12]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Author".
  2. ^ "Anand Neelakantan's debut as the devil's advocate in historical drama".
  3. ^ " 100 books by Indian authors - 100 Books To Read in a Lifetime: Books". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Author". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  5. ^ "More to myth than meets the eye". The Telegraph. 24 January 2016. Archived from the original on 13 March 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  6. ^ "How Anand Neelakantan is giving a new spin to mythological tales - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Actor Nagarjuna and Amala unveils Ajaya 2, Rise of Kali a book by Anand Neelakantan". Ragalahari. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  8. ^ "'Asura', a bestseller". The Hindu. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  9. ^ "From Duryodhana's perspective". The Hindu. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  10. ^ "The Rise of Sivagami (Bahubali Book #1)" by Anand Neelakantan, Westland Books
  11. ^ "Anand Neelakantan announces final book in the Bahubali trilogy - Times of India". The Times of India.
  12. ^ a b c d "Anand Neelakantan's upcoming book is a tale of Asuras for children - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  13. ^ "Anand Neelakantan pens debut kids' book". The Indian Express. 26 September 2020. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  14. ^ "Anand Neelakantan takes a 'proto-history' approach in his new book, Vanara". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  15. ^ "Anand Neelakantan's book to be adapted to film". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  16. ^ Scroll Staff. "Film based on Anand Neelakantan's Ramayana spinoff 'Vanara' in the works". Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Anand Neelakantan takes a 'proto-history' approach in his new book, Vanara". Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Anand Neelakantan's book to be adapted to film - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  19. ^ ശിവാനന്ദ്, അഖില്‍. "സീത, മീനാക്ഷി, ശാന്ത... രാമായണത്തിലെ പെണ്‍കഥാപാത്രങ്ങളെ പുനര്‍വായിക്കുമ്പോള്‍". Mathrubhumi. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  20. ^ "Leadstart Publishing Book Publisher, Distributor and Literary Agent". Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  21. ^ Admin, India Education Diary Bureau (4 June 2017). "Kalinga International Literary Award to Anand Neelakantan, Kalinga Literary Award to Haraprasad Das, KLF2017 to start from June 10". Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  22. ^ "The most remarkable Indian writers of 2012". DNA India. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  23. ^ "Anand's 'Asura' in the race for Crossword prize". The Hindu. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  24. ^ "The Rise of Sivagami | Anand Neelakantan | Book Review". 12 April 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2017.

External links[edit]