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Book Review: Bhima- Vikas Singh

When I first saw the title and illustration I was delighted to be reading about another character of Indian origin.

The cover grips you completely. The charismatic title of 'The Man in the Shadows' lends the thought to the reader that there might me some things they might not know about this character they think they know.

The name itself invokes images of legend and might. When these two things hit you with the wonderfully illustrated images, it fills you with a sense of curiosity. Men in shadows are usually associated with having done enormous tasks or played immense roles in tasks not usually associated with them. What is it that Bhim did which we did not know of?

If Bhim did it then it must me something immense, something of superhuman scale.

The book promises to show you facets of Bhim that you did not previously acknowledge. You expect these to evolve under the sections of the Mahabharat which were briefly touched or under disagreement. You expect to be shown a portrait of Bhim so good that you cannot help yourself but bow to the man.

None of that happen. The reader's perspective of Bhim remains almost unchanged. The only new addition is that perhaps Bhim was a man who had exceptional sex drive to have slept with women of other species and one of great need for acceptance.

All other attempts fail at one point or another. Depiction of combat attempt to lure you in with mentions of muscle names and fail on mentioning that air supply to the brain is blocked. The author fails to realize that the only thing reaching the brain is blood.

An attempt to show Bhim as a philosophical man fails throughout the book as most of his efforts are illustrated to be the work of a simpleton who just happens to hit on deep things. Bhim himself is not capable of deep thought.

There are attempts to reconcile the mystical nature of the Mahabharat though mentions of aliens and evolution being the cause of the deva and rakshas races. It fails when one realizes that evolution always moves to one point. For such stark evolutionary differences to arise, there have to exist impossible conditions on this earth.

Then there is the eternal display of Krishna as a deceitful man, though I have no problem with that. Attempts to show that good and evil are not clearly defined are half hearted and echo of the works of Amish and Arvind Adiga.

Overall the book leaves an unsatisfied taste in the mouth of a reader who was expecting a deep character study. It is mostly a description of the key events of the Mahabharat which involve Bhim peppered with gruesome battle and a desire for sex.

The author in my humble opinion, needs to do a deeper study of characters and techniques before immortalizing them in ink and thus producing a book with potential but no fulfilment.