"Reminds me of Tolkein" - Vidya Balan at Launch of Sukanya Venkatraghavan's Novel "Dark Things"

Via Joyline Rego/Everymedia

Vidya Balan and Sukanya Venkatraghavan
Vidya Balan and Sukanya Venkatraghavan

Mumbai, February 2 - Somewhere on Prithvi, a mortal survives a supernatural attack. In the dark realm of Atala, an evil goddess prepares to do the unspeakable. And a Yakshi finds herself at the heart of an other-worldly storm. Ardra has only known life as a Yakshi, designed to seduce and kill men after drawing out their deepest, darkest secrets for her evil mistress Hera, queen of the forsaken realm of Atala. Then, on one strange blood moon night, her chosen victim, Dwai, survives, and her world spins out of control. Now Ardra must escape the wrath of Hera, who is plotting to throw the universe into chaos. To stop Hera, Ardra must find answers to questions she hasn’t dared to ask before. What power does the blood moon hold? Is the sky city of Aakasha as much a myth as its inhabitants – the ethereal and seductive Gandharvas and Apsaras? Who is the mysterious monster-slayer and what makes Dwai impervious to her powers? A heady concoction of fantasy and romance, Dark Things conjures up a unique world wrought of love and sacrifice, of shadows and secrets, of evil and those who battle it.

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Dark Things - A fantasy novel set in a world populated by Yakshis, Gandharvas, Apsaras and Blood Queens finds its feet in Mumbai yesterday as actress Vidya Balan launched the book before media and audiences lending her support to former journalist and debut novelist Sukanya Venkatraghavan. One of the most exciting fiction debuts of this year, Dark Things, published by Hachette India is a heady concoction of fantasy and romance.

At the book launch, Sukanya shared a lovely tete-a-tete with Vidya discussing her experience of writing the book, what inspired her and her love for the fantasy genre. Vidya’s appreciation for the book shone in the conversation.

Talking about her debut as a novelist, Sukanya Venkatraghavan said, “People often ask me why I wrote Dark Things. The answer is really simple. I took Toni Morrison's famous advice and wrote the book I wanted to read. Fantasy has always been my world and stepping into universes other than ours has been a favourite past time of mine. Dark Things is the product of one such trespassing.”

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Actress Vidya Balan, an avid reader herself, said, "I'm loving reading Dark Things. Sukanya's vivid imagination and imagery transports you to a realm where you no longer know the difference between the real and the fantastical. The writing is absolutely exciting and reminds me of J.R.R.Tolkien."

Vidya Balan and Sukanya Venkatraghavan
Vidya Balan and Sukanya Venkatraghavan

Born in Chennai, Sukanya Venkatraghavan spent her childhood in a rambling old house in Kerala that told her so many stories. Her imagination was further shaped by her grandfather who would narrate countless stories to her from mythology and his own imagination. She quickly earned the tag ‘bookworm’ as she spent her days buried in books. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and then went on to a course in Mass Communication from the University of Pune. She moved to Bombay in 2001 and started her career as a film journalist for the iconic trade paper, Screen. She later joined Filmfare where she spent six years as Associate Editor. When she quit in 2011 it was to pursue her own world of writing. She had a brief stint as the entertainment editor of the fashion magazine Marie Claire. Along with toying with notes and drafts of her next book, she is currently working on two screenplays (that she hopes to finish in the coming months) and also a comic strip along with a friend. Her other interests include tarot reading (yes she can look into your past and future), painting, pickling and collecting odd things including stories.

Avanija Sundaramurti, head of marketing at Hachette India, said at the occasion, "We are so excited to publish Sukanya’s debut novel. The winner of the bestseller hunt that we had run a few years ago, she has a formidable imagination that sparkles through each page. You can’t put the book down once you start and that’s the real test for any novel!"