What happens when the richly illustrated Amar Chitra Katha and Ruskin Bond, the beloved old man from the hills of Mussoorie, come together? “There is magic,” says Reena Puri, Editor, Amar Chitra Katha (ACK). And magic it is! The comics that won the hearts of millions across all age groups will recreate the stories of Ruskin Bond in its next launch.
Foraying into the ‘Contemporary Classics’ segment for the first time, ACK will weave the lucid and charming style of Ruskin Bond in its comics in the first two titles in this category – The Blue Umbrella and Angry River. Incidentally, the comics on Ruskin Bond’s stories were launched at a time when he will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Delhi Government.
“It will be a visual treat for the readers. Stories of Ruskin Bond are simply told and have a beauty in them. We selected the titles after discussing them with Mr Bond,” says Reena. Bond’s endearing tale of the little girl and her frilly blue umbrella was also done into a film by director Vishal Bharadwaj in The Blue Umbrella.
The journey through the world of Ruskin Bond’s characters was both “fascinating and challenging” for the creators of the comics. It took the team seven months to finish work on the titles, colours and illustrations effectively to retain its flavour. Script writer Nimmy Chacko spent days with Ruskin Bond for understanding the nuances of the story. “The challenge is to retain the language of the writer as much as possible, which we have tried to do and used the description of scenes to create the illustrations,” adds Reena.
Known for the rich tales of Indian mythology and fables, the publishing house is now looking to introduce more titles in the ‘Contemporary Classics’ category. The ACK team is exploring classics in other languages written by Tagore, Premchand and Mahasweta Devi among other Indian authors. “Uncle Pai used to say that every story should have a message, something that the reader would take away with him or her. Our endeavour is to retain that distinctive flavour of ACK while exploring other genres,” Reena said.
And there is more in store for all the fans of Amar Chitra Katha. Shortly, it will come out with its first title on a sports personality. “The first title in this category will be out in the next six to seven months. We are also working on a series of comics in this segment to tell the inspiring life stories of sports personalities in cricket, hockey, archery and other fields,” Reena added.