Rayan Pushpanath discovered Dracula, a forbidden read till then, during the summer of 1999. Along with his cousin, he sat under a brindleberry tree in their ancestral home at Chungam in Kottayam devouring the novel which their grandfather, the popular writer Kottayam Pushpanath, had translated.
Over that summer, they surreptitiously finished reading almost the entire series of 20 Dracula novels that Pushpanath had written, inspired from the original work by Bram Stoker.
Now, Rayan is republishing the Dracula series almost four decades after they were first released and became a sensation.
In 1977, on realising the popularity of his fictional works, the author had started his own enterprise, Kottayam Pushpanath Publications. With his writing commitments for various magazines, the publication had to be closed down after some years, until it was revived by his grandson in 2018.
Rayan grew up with his grandparents and his grandfather Kottayam Pushpanath became the most influential figure in his life.
A few years back, he opened a Facebook page for Kottayam Pushpanath, while he was still alive.
“The page’s inbox began to get filled with messages from well-wishers and enthusiastic readers from different parts of the world requesting for republication of Pushpanath’s novels.This paved the way to resume the functioning of Kottayam Pushpanath Publications. It has already released novels from Pushparaj series and Marxin series, featuring the popular detective characters,” says Rayan.
After the success of the Dracula translation, Pushpanath thought of expanding the idea by placing the character in new contexts and situations, which led to books such as Draculayude Nizhal, Draculayude Anki, Dracula Unarunnu, Draculayude Makal, and Dracula Asiayil.
Though he never travelled much, leave alone to Europe, he was skilful in portraying the mountain ranges of Europe and the streets of London and Paris and its people through his novels. These settings became as familiar as their village roads for his readers. In Dracula Asiayil, the action stretches from Mongolia to the hill station of Munnar and features detective Marxin, who appears only in stories set outside India.
“As of now, we are releasing five books from the Dracula series, through an online session attended by writers and film-makers on August 7. He has written more than 300 books, all of which will be republished soon. Since his works were earlier translated to Tamil, Kannada Telugu, Hindi, Gujarati and Bengali, we are also working on e-books and audiobooks in these languages. We are also in talks with major streaming services for a series on his detective characters,” says Rayan.