Chandrakanta is a romantic fantasy novel written by Devaki Nandan Khatri, a popular writer from the first generation of modern Hindi novelists. This book is considered to be one of his finest works, and has spawned numerous sequels related to the original story. The story centres around a romantic couple, each of whom came from kingdoms at dissent with each other. Chandrakanta is the princess of Vijaygarh while Virendra Singh is the prince of Naugarh.
Kroor Singh, one of the courtiers in the King’s court at Vijaygarh, is a schemester with grand plans of his own. He intends to seize the throne and marry the beautiful Chandrakanta, thereby gaining legitimacy to his rule over the kingdom of Vijaygarh. However, Kroor Singh fails to succeed in his plans, and is forced to flee from the kingdom.
This story then moves onto Kroor Singh’s eventual plan to kidnap princess Chandrakanta with the help of Shivdutt, King of the nearby Chungarh. This book has gone on to popularise the concept of ‘tillism’ in Hindi literature, after being used as the narrative device that helps facilitate the kidnapping of Chandrakanta. ‘Aiyars’, on the other hand, are secret agents in the employment of Royalty who are experts in their professions.
A novel that set a benchmark for the numerous Hindi novels yet to come, Chandrakanta was adapted multiple times over the years.