Can you sum up the Ramayana in an elevator pitch?
December 28, 2011 10:30 AM   Subscribe

 
I really wish they hadn't used the word hipster, which is a button that starts internet knees a-jerking.

Sanjay Patel's work is terrific. You can see a lot of it on his eye-popping website. He's the author of The Little Book of Hindu Deities, and you can read an interview with him about the book, and his work at Pixar, here.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:47 AM on December 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


The influence of Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues seems obvious, but nonetheless I'm glad to see that Sanjay Patel acknowledges her work as an inspiration.
posted by RichardP at 10:47 AM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nice! I like the colors and composition, and it makes me want to see more of Patel's stuff and read more Hindu mythology. That's a win-win right there!

I kind of wish the photo gallery had told me something about the images rather than saving that space for ads, though...
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:53 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The title of the article almost comes off as a snub. I certainly wouldn't want my work summed up that way.
posted by Edgewise at 10:57 AM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


His parents have run the Lido Motel, along Route 66, for more than 30 years.

The "Patel motel" phenomenon
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:57 AM on December 28, 2011


On a related note, I've always wondered why no Hollywood studio has ever tried to make a movie epic from Hindu mythology. Not to trivialize religious texts, but other sacred sagas have had the Hollywood treatment - Judeo-Christian, Norse, Celtic, Greek, Central Americas, etc - but no Hindu stories. Will we ever see a big screen veda other than Darth?
posted by rh at 11:02 AM on December 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


What age do you think these books would be appropriate for? And do you guys have recommendation for similar books about other pantheons? I think I want to buy a set for my nephews.
posted by empath at 11:18 AM on December 28, 2011


On a related note, I've always wondered why no Hollywood studio has ever tried to make a movie epic from Hindu mythology. Not to trivialize religious texts, but other sacred sagas have had the Hollywood treatment - Judeo-Christian, Norse, Celtic, Greek, Central Americas, etc - but no Hindu stories. Will we ever see a big screen veda other than Darth?

Hollywood hasn't, but there are lots of fairly big budget Bollywood adaptations.
posted by empath at 11:19 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hollywood hasn't, but there are lots of fairly big budget Bollywood adaptations.

Can you recommend a few?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:22 AM on December 28, 2011


I got the Little Book of Hindu Deities out of the library, intending it to be a good supplement to my memory of Greek mythology for stories about "monsters" to tell to my 4 year old. It's a really great book, but there's so much backstory and assumptions that I myself don't know that I couldn't pull it off. It's probably pretty neat for anyone 8 and up to read to themselves, though.
posted by DU at 11:22 AM on December 28, 2011


but other sacred sagas have had the Hollywood treatment - Judeo-Christian, Norse, Celtic, Greek, Central Americas

In a nutshell? White, white, white, white, ok, anomaly. It took Disney almost 100 years to have a movie with a POC protagonist, ffs. Why would live action hollywood be any better?
posted by elizardbits at 11:27 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seconding what DU said; I picked up the Little Book of Hindu Deities for my girls some years ago. It's really an excellent book, they loved reading through it, and it was fun to watch them absorb the stories and work them into their play. I'm still not quite sure who wins in a fight - Playmobil Hazmat Team, Shiva or a tyrannosaurus but I can certainly attest to the critical importance of Lego in the simulation.
posted by phong3d at 11:28 AM on December 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


That may be part of it, elizardbits, but DU's note about "backstory" may also be a factor. Not that it's not possible, but I can see the propensity of someone in a hurry to get something produced to just throw up their hands and say "screw it, let's just go do something from a mythos that actually uses things like linear time and all that."

I also had to think a minute when it came to which Celtic myth got the Hollywood treatment -- and realized rh probably meant "The Sword In The Stone." I actually think The Boyhood Deeds of CuChullain would be awesome, but can also even there see some studio exec wrinkling his nose about how "weird" it is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:34 AM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did this guy set the main style for the animated Hercules? Sure looks like it. I like it, but I've always been fond of the iconography of Hinduism.
posted by Goofyy at 11:36 AM on December 28, 2011


This is great, and I just bought the Little Book for the kids. But why the fuck is it paginated? Come 2012, not gonna read it.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:50 AM on December 28, 2011


This is very cool. It reminds me of two other books by Pixar artists: The Ancient Book of Myth and War and The Ancient Book of Sex and Science. Certainly less child-friendly, and sadly out of print, but if you can find a copy for a decent price, they're worth picking up.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:09 PM on December 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nice tagline. I recently tried to summarize the Bhagavad Gita for my mother, who kind of knows about various Hindu religions, but in the sort of watery way that many old hippies do. She kind of didn't believe that it was about Krishna hanging out with a warring prince on the battlefield.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:15 PM on December 28, 2011


Er, various Eastern religions, rather.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:16 PM on December 28, 2011


I've always wondered why no Hollywood studio has ever tried to make a movie epic from Hindu mythology.

Not Hollywood, but there's this Anglo-French production:

The Mahabharata is a 1989 film version of the Indian epic, Mahabharata, directed by Peter Brook. Brook's original 1985 stage play was 9 hours long, and toured around the world for four years. In 1989, it was reduced to under 6 hours for television (TV mini series). Later it was also reduced to about 3 hours for theatrical and DVD release.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:29 PM on December 28, 2011


Apparently the word "Hipster" means nothing at all anymore.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:58 PM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


On a related note, I've always wondered why no Hollywood studio has ever tried to make a movie epic from Hindu mythology.

Walt Disney's Mahabharata? 30 years after the movie is made Disney will be suing the nation of India for copyright infringement, claiming that Vishnu and all of his manifestations are the creations of the Disney Studios and may only be used under license.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:09 PM on December 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


It took Disney almost 100 years to have a movie with a POC protagonist, ffs.

Thirty is a lot closer to zero than it is to one hundred.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:09 PM on December 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Apparently the word "Hipster" means nothing at all anymore.

Well, seeing as it was invented by Harry the Hipster Gibson to describe people like him -- white people who grew up steeped in black culture and were fans of jazz and drugs (what Norman Mailer called the "white Negro"), and then, for the past decade or so, was used by Internet geeks to describe anybody whose chunky glasses or taste in alt rock bothered them, I'd say, yes, it's a pretty devalued term.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:16 PM on December 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


He came to the Museum here in Houston last year, after doing some work for them. Gave a terrific little talk, primarily about his influences and his bio. His personality appears to be introverted and somewhat shy, but then he got to talking about the Miracle of Vector Art and he just lit up. To see him trying to explain how AMAZING it is that the art stays EXACTLY THE SAME no matter what size, to a bunch of Indian and/or arty Houstonians, at great length - really fun. And he quizzed the kids in the audience about the Ramayana and was delighted to see how many of them had read and absorbed his book, even if they'd never stepped in a temple.

If you like him, you might also like a group blog he contributes to sometimes, called Pardon My Hindi.
posted by pomegranate at 1:23 PM on December 28, 2011


I liked The Book of Shiva from the India Authentic series. I thought the second volume was half-assed and I wasn't interested in the other "updated" series Virgin had going. It looks like they folded up anyway, so ymmv.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:56 PM on December 28, 2011


On a related note, I've always wondered why no Hollywood studio has ever tried to make a movie epic from Hindu mythology.

A movie version of Ramayan 3392 A.D. was supposed to come out this year, but I don't know what its current status is.
posted by homunculus at 3:58 PM on December 28, 2011




For modern adaptations check out Ravaan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMWyVEc1sAw

It's definitely from the Anti-Hero perspective with the Villain of the Ramayana though.

I have a copy Patel's edition and the artwork is good. What is neat is he has a lot of his early sketches in there as well.

This is worth checking out as well
http://terrainseeker.blogspot.com/2011/12/ravana-roar-of-demon-king.html

The Thai Version of the Ramayana is called the Ramakien.
If you want the thai version of the story in mural form check this out
http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/ramayana/1.0
posted by khappucino at 6:44 PM on December 28, 2011


I like Patel's work, but Mukesh Singh's art for the never-made animated series 18 Days will forever own my heart. Luckily they brought out a book to tempt us with what might have been.
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:35 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


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