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Soumitra Ranade turns novelist with Bhrigu and the Palace of Mirror

Written and illustrated by the director, the book is being published by Hachette India, and will be out on 20 October. 

Shriram Iyengar

Director Soumitra Ranade has turned novelist with his first major novel, Bhrigu And The Palace Of Mirror. The book, published by Hachette India, will be available online from 20 October. Ranade last directed the 2019 remake of the critically acclaimed Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai? (1979)

Speaking about the project, Ranade said, "Although I have written many short stories for children and some of them have also been published, I always wanted to write something longer, something more substantial. A novel by its very form gives the writer that space to explore stories in-depth – to delve into complexities, to develop relationships, and so on.”

He added, "Writing, and then illustrating Bhrigu and the Palace of Mirrors brought me immense joy – like all the work that I do specifically for children always does. More than anything else, it is also to maintain my own sanity that I keep going back to children’s literature or films. That is a free world - a world full of adventure and fantasy, of mystery and intrigue. That’s a world where one can eliminate the dark, the depressing, and the miserable. It is a space of hope, love and compassion. There is a wide variety of children’s literature available in India - not just in English but also in many regional languages. But most of it is for young children. There is hardly anything for older children as a result of which they have to switch to the Harry Potters and other western writing. This in itself is fine, since children should be reading all that, but I think they should also be reading our stories. Bhrigu and the Palace of Mirrors is our way to address this gap. I am absolutely fascinated by the way children think and I am really looking forward to knowing what they think of my book.”

The book deals with the story of a 10-year-old Bhrigu whose fascination with his father's scale replica of an ancient palace brings him face to face with mysteries beyond his dreams. When a meeting with a stranger sets him on the path of a series of events, Bhrigu begins to realize the true danger he faces. 

In the author's note, Ranade writes, "This particular story of the Palace of Mirrors came to me when I had visited Lucknow and experienced the extraordinary mazes at Bhool Bhulaiya. I had felt then that it is not only an exciting story but something that will connect our children with our architectural heritage. I have often felt that amazing structures such as Ajanta Caves, Jantar Mantar, Konark temple etc. have all been relegated to mere chapters in school history books with no real bond with the younger generation. This story is also an attempt to address that."

Bhrigu and the Palace of Mirror will be out on October 20 on Amazon, Kindle, Flipkart and in bookstores across India.