Bhima : Lone Warrior is actually a translation of Malayalam literature masterpiece Randamoozham written by author M.T.Vasudevan Nair. The book is translated into English by Gita Krisnankutty. It is the most recent translation and is also considered to be the best translation of this masterpiece.
I have watched and read the narration of Mahabharata but reading Mahabharata from the view point of individual character sheds light on altogether a different angel of the epic. Bhima : Lone Warrior definitely serves the purpose over here.
The general image of Bhima is of a giant warrior and dumb glutton. But M.T.Vasudevan Nair has done a commendable job in bringing out the Bhima’s character.
The author has described him as a lonely and solitary man who finds his solace in food. Vasudevan writes how Bhima is always undervalued in his own family. Yudhishtriya considered him fat headed though most of the time he himself was responsible for depressing situation of Pandavas. Kunti and Draupadi were always fond of Arjuna but it was always Bhima who used to come to her rescue barring once. He was the one who use to protect the family from any possible danger.
Bhima also considers himself an unworthy father. He was not able to protect or give fatherly love to his sons named Sarvada from Balandhara and Ghatotkacha from Hidimbi. In fact he has to sacrifice Ghatotkacha life in order to safe guard Arjuna.
Whats the best thing I liked about the book is that apart from Bhima, Vasudevan also gives voice to characters like Sarvada, Ghatotkacha, Balandhara, Hidimbi which were otherwise considered inconsequential. The book addresses to the grievances of these characters which Bhima himself understands very well but is unable to do anything.
Another noteworthy thing in Randamoozham is that the author completely avoids divine interpretation of the novel. He doesn’t describe Krishna as a God and tried to portray the story as a real incident with human elements. It is this which makes it an original masterpiece literature.
Verdict: Randamoozham or Bhima : Lone Warrior is a sheer thought provoking book. Vasudevan entered into that sphere of Mahabharata where Poet Vyasa choose to remain silent. And equally commendable work done by Gita Krisnankutty. Her translation was top notch and the classic book Randamoozham never lost its core. Also the one who cannot read Malayalam can now read the book in English.
With a hope that Randamoozham will be soon translated in Hindi as well I’d like to conclude my thoughts on the book.