Skip to main content

Author Highlight: Vijay Sodhi Discusses his Book ‘The Rise of Rama’ and Stories from his Creative Life

It’s time for another author interview. Today, with us, we have Vijay Sodhi, he lives in London, England.

Kindly tell us a bit about you.

I’d always been a really fortunate person. I grew up in Nigeria, West Africa where I was exposed to people from every part of the world. I had a loving family and parents who raised me well. Instilling in me a confidence that I could achieve whatever I set my mind to and the importance of contributing to society.

When I was 15, I threw all that out of the window and went off the rails. You name it, I did it. For 3 years I was lost in the wilderness of not knowing who I was. One day I was pulled in front of my headmasters office. He couldn’t believe I had fallen so far. He spoke quietly and with just a few words, he manifested a force that I had never experienced before. It was as if he shone a mirror into a deep part of my soul, I was reminded who I had been and who I’d become. From that moment I pledged I’d be a better person. In fact I’d be the best version of myself I could. No matter how hard it would be. As a result I’ve faced heartbreak in failed businesses and been slapped down from many dreams, time and time again. But I refuse to allow those setbacks to quench the pursuit of doing some good in this world… even if it is only a little good.

After 28 years of trying a great many things, I joined Create London, a creative advertising agency that specializes in AV material for films. I joined as a runner (bottom of the food chain). I worked hard and said yes to every opportunity that came my way. If a task proved difficult I’d attack it with greater vigour. I worked my way up through every rung of the business and now am effectively number 2 in the company running the creative teams and work on projects such as Deadpool 2, War for the Planet of the Apes and various other Hollywood franchises.

What was the preparation and motivation behind writing this book?

Buy at Amazon Kindle: https://goo.gl/RDRvuj
When it comes to heroes there are none more inspiring that Rama. I knew that I wanted to get his story out to the world, to share it with the West. I started reading Tulsidas’s Ramacharitmanas then found an electronic copy of Valmiki’s original Ramayana. From there it was a period of 6 years of writing and rewriting the story so that it retained the authenticity of the originals. But it also had to appeal to a wider audience. Those unfamiliar with the Indian epics. So the characters had to feel real, their emotional journey explored and felt. With the help of Mita Samani my sister in law who’s a huge fan of the story and knows more than I do about we’d check and recheck the story with scholars and saints. Each version would bring it closer to its authentic true north.

How do you balance yourself as a screenplay writer, associate director, and fiction writer? 

I’m most fortunate that my wife supports me in all aspects of work and extracurricular pursuits. We have 2 daughters and I do my best to be around for them too. So, a lot of time spent on writing is late at night or during my lunchbreaks. I’m also an avid basketball player so sometimes have to decide between playing and writing. Playing usually wins!

What is the first story you ever wrote as a screenplay writer?

I helped co-write a couple of plays for the Chinamaya Mission. That’s when I knew it was something I could do well.

What inspired you to choose working for Hollywood, not Bollywood?

Hollywood was the one that took me first. Growing up in Nigeria we never saw Indian films so I was exposed to Hollywood from a younger age. But as I grew older I started watching more Bollywood. Mard was the film that moved me the most. Amitabh Bachchan’s Raju was who I wanted to be when I was younger… and when he came to save his father… oh man that was awesome.

What movies or stories inspired your creative streak?

It’s all about the Indian epics. The steadfast characters who are attuned with the subtler world around them always fascinates me and inspires me to aspire to be like them. I love Indiana Jones and his rugged grit that keeps him going. The buddy comedy elements from awesome films like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the Lethal Weapon franchise… “I’m getting too old for this sh*!”. Then there’s the beauty of culture shown elegantly through films like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Finally Atticus Finch’s pursuit of doing what’s right in To Kill a Mockingbird. A blend of all the above is probably how I try to live my life… at least I imagine how I live my life.

Which is better Greek Mythology or Indian Mythology? Why?

Oh great question! Both have something to offer obviously. But in my humble opinion Greek mythology had better PR and Marketing departments that saw their stories sweep through the West. Indian mythology wins hands down because the levels in which one’s understanding about our own nature expands by reading these great epics is second to none.

Would you like to make a movie on The Ramayana Hollywood style?

Most definitely. In fact the whole screenplay was written for the big screen. After trying every which way to get it made failed, it couldn’t stay as a file on my computer. It had to get out to the world.

What experiences from your life influence your stories?

I think the empathy that I’ve experienced from some of the tougher parts of life means I look for that when writing characters. In the Ramayana I have to imagine what Rama was feeling when he didn’t shoot Tadaka immediately or what it was like for him to be disenfranchised from everything, but still have the tenacity to accept his destiny and leave for the forest. Where did that strength come from.. could it come from me too? Would I have the same well of forbearance that he had. I had to dig into my challenging experiences to try and feel a nugget of that.

Do you prepare an outline before you start writing?

Nope. I just write. Word to word, page to page. I suck at planning.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I used to fly for the Royal Airforce. Whilst I was at university I was a commissioned officer in the RAF.

Any future books/projects that you would like to discuss now?

I’m thinking of publishing the story of Abdul Kalam, Vikram Sarabhai and the ISRO scientists who took India into space despite huge obstacles.

Connect with Vijay Sodhi:
Twitter:@RudrakshaFilms

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond

Among all Ruskin Bond books, The Blue Umbrella has, so far, gathered immense applaud from readers and critics alike.  This is a short novel, but the kind of moral lessons it teaches to us are simply overwhelming.

This is a story of Binya, a poor little girl living with her mother and an elder brother, Bijju, in a small hilly village of Garhwal. One day while herding her two cows back home, she stumbles upon some city people enjoying the picnic in the valley. She is enthralled to see them well-groomed and rich. She craves to be one like them and among many other things of their, a blue frilly umbrella catches her attention. She begins craving for it. On the other hand, the city people get attracted by her innocent beauty and the pendant in her neck. The pendant consists of leopard’s claw – which is considered a mascot widely in the hills. Binya trades her pendant off with the blue umbrella.


The blue umbrella is so much beautiful that soon it becomes a topic of conversation for village…

Book Review: A Village in Garhwal by Ruskin Bond

There is no one better than Ruskin Bond to give you deep insights about the life in the Himalayan foothills. He lives in Mussoorie and thus knows the up and down of the hills, nearby and the farthest. You must have read many Ruskin Bond stories on the lives and culture of the Himalayan people living in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Well, this short story, A Village in Garhwal, takes you into Manjari village of Garhwal region. The author spends four days in the village, he was taken there by one of his friends Gajadhar. This village Manjari is located twenty-five miles away from Lansdown, a famous tourist place and center of Garhwal Rifles.

It takes two days to reach this village from the author’s native place. One needs to travel first by bus from Lansdown and then walk for five miles. The village is situated up the Nayar River – a tributary of the Ganges. One morning the author wakes up to the loud vociferous sound of Cicada. This sound reminds him of factory buzzer. The author …

Character Sketch of Binya from ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond

The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond is a popular children’s story. It features Binya as the main character, though there are other important characters as well, but the story revolves around Binya and her little beautiful umbrella. The story is widely popular among children, thus it has also been included in the schools’ syllabus all across the country. Since it is often taught in the school, thus the character sketch of Binya is often demanded by students from year to year.


Character Sketch of Binya from The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond
Binya is the main character of the novel ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond. Her full name is Binyadevi. As in the hills or anywhere in India it is a kind of trend to call children with their short nicknames. Binya’s elder brother’s name is Bijju, whereas his real name is Vijay.
Binya aged eleven is a hilly girl. She lives with her small family in the hills of Garhwal. Her father died when she was two years of age. For sustenance, they have three tiny t…