Maxim India
Sleuth Sexy Image Credit: Maxim India
Sleuth Sexy Image Credit: Maxim India

Sleuth & Sexy

India’s latest female superhero, Anantya Tantrist, is a cheeky badass who is all set to pioneer a fanboy literary revolution. We chat with her creator and author of The Matsya Curse, Shweta Taneja, about character origins and the science of tantric detection.

Meher Bajwa

We desperately needed a sexy female Indian superhero, so thank you! What’s your favourite thing about Anantya Tantrist?

Let me start with a little confession. I gleefully created Anantya for myself. I’ve grown up on a healthy dose of badass characters like John Constantine or Harry Dresden in novels. I craved for a female version of them all based in Indian myths and folklore. A 20-something, who can do blood magic and solve supernatural crimes that no one else can while encountering creatures of the night, and then head to a bar at the end for a soma-on-the-rocks and some casual pick-me-up-sex. Anantya Tantrist, a tantric detective based in Delhi is exactly that. She’s a mix of Bollywoodesque brashness with the crime-solving nose of Sherlock Holmes, and I’ve enjoyed every bit of being with her.

Who was the real-life inspiration for Anantya’s character?

Anantya is a complete inversion of the middle-class ideal of the Indian woman. I wanted to create a superhero character who would break all societal norms and expectations. Her world and her reactions all consciously invert the gender biases that swim in our world. Writing her has rattled my own gender prejudices. I hope it does the same to the readers all the while entertaining them through a dark joyride of the supernatural underworld.

Anantya Tantrist has a sailor’s affection for cursing. Is that a


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