Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sudershan (Chimpanzee) – A graphic novel by Hachette India

Sudershan (Chimpanzee) – A graphic novel by Hachette India
Launched at the recent Mumbai Film and Comics Convention, Hachette India’s latest offering, Sudershan (Chimpanzee) is a deeply moving and darkly comic tale of a chimp in Bollywood and the creatures – human or otherwise – in his life.
The 124 page graphic novel is written by Mumbai based writer Rajesh Devraj who has previously written The Art of Bollywood (2010) and was the screenwriter of Quick Gun Murugun and Arjun: The Warrior Prince.
The novel is created by Meren Imchen, an animator and illustrator by profession; he has also directed the 2007 National Film Award winner for Best Animation and Direction ‘Nokpoliba’.
The storyline of Sudershan (Chimpanzee) is set in the Hindi film industry of the sixties, when there was a vogue for jungle movies and animal stars. It traces the life of a chimp in this B-movie world, his rise from the circus to Bollywood stardom, his complex relationship with his mentor, and the joys and sorrows and heartbreaks that come his way in this journey.
Speaking to’s Ishpreet Chandock  about the birth of Sudershan (Chimpanzee), Rajesh shares, ”Sudershan first appeared as a six-page comic in Man’s World magazine in their September 2005 issue – this was a kind of preview to the story. A few years later, I showed these pages to an editor at Hachette, who commissioned the book that has now come out. It’s been in the making from 2009, basically because Meren and I have worked on it between many other projects.”
Rajesh has also worked with Channel V‘s Toofan TV, a show on Indian B-movies which was directed by the late Pankaj Advani.
Emphasizes further, “I’ve also written a book on poster art, The Art of Bollywood, where I had uncovered a great deal of B-movie imagery as well. Also, I’ve researched on the various aspects of the Bollywood scene over the years. This book is more a work of imagination, but its background is based on what I’ve learned from my earlier research. Here and there, I’ve also drawn on the filmy characters I’ve met, all the funny, tragic, hilarious stories I’ve heard from them.”
“A book like this requires the artist to put in a great deal of time and effort, which obviously cannot be covered by the kind of advances publishers offer. So in the end, you do it between other projects, using your down-time, and naturally, it takes longer to finish. The challenges then are not to let your commitment waver, not to get bored or jaded, and settle for second-best.”
Sudershan (Chimpanzee) was launched with much fanfare at the recent Mumbai Film and Comic Con, sharing his experience at the convention he said,” I wasn’t sure what response we’d get at Comic Con, because the event is focused more on traditional comics than on literary graphic novels such as mine – in fact, someone pointed that my book was the only one from a mainstream publisher of literary fiction. But we went ahead with Comic Con because I thought my book could reach out to all kinds of readers, not just the literary kind, since it deals with a fairly popular subject and is partly in Hindi. So this was an experiment and I’d say it succeeded to some extent.”
Sudershan (Chimpanzee) is priced at Rs 550 and is available across leading book stores.

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