Epic Love Stories

Epic Love stories are a collection of 5 books by Ashok Banker about the most fascinating love stories from the nations greatest epic “The Mahabharath”. The series includes:

Book 1 – Shakuntala and Dushyanta – The love story that gave birth to a nation
Book 2 -Ganga and Shantanu – A love story written on water
Book 3 -Satyavati and Shantanu – A love story made possible by a son’s sacrifice
Book 4 -Amba and Bhishma – A love story that was never meant to be
Book 5 -Devayani, Sharmishtha and Yayati – A love triangle that changed a dynasty

With apt tag lines, these books will draw readers interested in Indian history, mythology and aficionados of the Mahabharata to browse through their pages. Each book is more like a short story and can be easily finished in one go. The first two books which I read (Book 1 and 2) were less than 100 pages!

Image Courtesy: Internet
Image Courtesy: Internet

Book 1 – Shakuntala and Dushyanta – The love story that gave birth to a nation

I found this book fascinating as it sets the stage for the creation of our nation. However I was familiar with the version where Sakunthala receives a ring from Dushyanta as a token of his love and promise to return for her to make her his queen. The story takes a turn when Sakunthala is cursed by a rishi and looses the ring which is apparently swallowed by a fish. Also Dushyanta fails to recognize his wife due to the curse until a fisherman turns up to meet the king with the ring he found inside the guts of a fish from his net!

None of this figures in Bankers version where Dushyanta’s reason for not going back for his first love are purely political and circumstantial.  The book ends with a gripping court drama where the Gods speak and the King hugs his rightful queen and son amidst cheers and blessings – more like a Bollywood film, no?

Bankers portrayal of Sakunthala as one who is extremely knowledgeable and courageous with only the interest of her son in mind when she fights for his rights and entitlements is a great contrast to the stories that talk more about her beauty ….Also this version seems more practical than a fish swallowing a ring! Good job Mr. Banker! 

Book 2 -Ganga and Shantanu – A love story written on water

Image Courtesy: Internet
Image Courtesy: Internet

Having grown up watching B.R Chopra’s Mahabarath on TV, I always wondered why Bheeshma’s mother was river Ganga and this book solved the mystery for me 🙂

Readers are educated about the reasons behind the birth of Shantanu and Ganga on the mortal realm and the story behind the birth of the nations most honorable politician Pithaama Bheeshma.

The stories have been narrated in a very straight forward manner and may not offer anything new for readers who might have grown up listening to these stories narrated by their grandparents or parents. The age old story of  how prince meets princess or goddess in some cases, fall in love and live happily every after or not, have been described well albeit with a certain amount of erotica. After a certain point one will tire of pretty maidens in flimsy wet sarees!! (case in point book 2)

The books are filled with Gods,magic, rishis, apsaras, kings, beautiful maidens, love, romance and tragedy. As unbelievable as these seem you can’t help but wonder if these might have been true 🙂

Having read Bankers Ramayana series and Krishna Coriolis, I felt that the Banker touch of describing impossibly beautiful and mysterious worlds is missing in these books. These stories offer a lot of scope to let an authors imagination fly high but seems that Banker has chosen not to take advantage of this fact and has just stuck to re-telling the age old tales in a simple way.

I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series. Being a Banker fan, any book by the author is welcome into my humble library 🙂  A must read for fans of Ashok Banker and those interested in Indian Epics.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!



  1. Good review but then I am always skeptical of reading mythology by commercial writers. Bcoz one vital factor will be missing- bhava.
    By the way one typo, in the last para it should be Banker

    • Thanks Bhagya! Books by Mr Banker are a good read – a great way to get reacquainted with our epics. Though they may have a lot of creative prose that we might not have heard when we originally heard or read the stories.. Thanks for pointing out the typo 🙂 I have corrected it.

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