The epic of the Ramayana is here presented as a very colourful graphic novel, with Sita as a Bollywood beauty and Rama and Lakshmana as well-ripped Hollywood hunks. The format is well-suited to this tale of struggles between demons and demigods, though I was a little disappointed at the restraint practised by artist and writer in eschewing the possibilities afforded by full and double page spreads for depicting the epic’s many scenes of spectacular miracle and carnage.
The emphasis here is firmly on the subtler details of the story; in particular, the incessant conflicts between the iron code of Kshatriya honour and the passion of the lovers at the centre of the story. As the title signifies, the authorial voice is Sita’s, giving prominence to aspects sometimes marginalized by those retellings which culminate in a triumphant Diwali: the trial by fire when her chastity is doubted, her second exile to the forest to bear her children alone, her eventual abandonment of Rama, after a life of defiantly patient devotion, for reunion with her mother Budhevi, the goddess of the Earth. A quiet poignancy counterpoints the fiery graphics of these pages, giving readers yet another perspective on an inexhaustibly retellable tale.