Anand Neelakantan is the author of the Bahubali trilogy, the official prequel to S.S. Rajamouli’s movie. The first book in the series, The Rise of Sivagami, was released in 2017, and was a bestseller across all charts for two years and was on Amazon’s list of top five bestsellers for 2017. The second book, Chaturanga, and the final book in the trilogy, Queen of Mahishmati, were subsequently published with outstanding success. Netflix has announced a series based on the Bahubali trilogy.
Anand debuted as an author in 2012 with his iconic book Asura: Tale of the Vanquished, which told the tale of Ramayana from the perspective of Ravana. The book has been translated into sixteen languages and is on Amazon’s ‘100 Books to Be Read in a Lifetime’ list. Anand followed it up with the hugely popular Ajaya series, a retelling of the Mahabharata from Duryodhana’s point of view. Vanara, published by Penguin, told the story of the Ramayana from Baali’s perspective and became an instant bestseller. The book is slated to be a major motion picture and was optioned for one of the biggest bids in the Indian film industry.
Anand also wrote the popular children’s book The Very, Extremely, Most Naughty Asura Tales for Kids, published by Puffin. There is an upcoming animation series based on this book. He has also published a short-story collection titled Valmiki’s Women. Anand’s audiobook, Many Ramayanas, Many Lessons, was in the top three listens of Audible India in 2021 and 2022. Nala Damayanti first appeared as an audio drama in Storytel in ten languages and became Storytel’s most-listened-to book in 2022.
Anand is a prolific screenplay writer and has written hugely popular series like Siya Ke Ram, Chakravarthi Samrat Ashoka, Mahabali Hanuman, Sarfrosh, Adaalat, Taj and Swaraj, among others. Ace director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has announced a two-part film based on the Mahabharata that Anand is co-writing with him. Reliance Entertainment has announced a spy thriller for a major OTT channel with Anand as the lead writer.
For the past six years, Anand has been writing a regular fortnightly column, named Acute Angle, for the New Indian Express. Anand also writes in Malayalam and has authored a short-story collection, travelogues, articles and film reviews for leading Malayalam dailies. Anand dabbles in cartooning, painting, public speaking, life coaching, acting and modelling. He lives in Mumbai with his family.