Monday, March 17, 2014

Mark Canton adapting Gotham Chopra, Jeevan Kang’s comic book ‘The Sadhu’ into film.

Big breakthrough for Virgin Comics.
By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: Comic book movies have become all the rage in Hollywood over the last decade, but in another couple of years, an Indian hero may be coming to an American multiplex near you.
SadhuComicMark Canton, one of the producers behind blockbuster films like300 and its recent sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire, is developing a motion picture based on the comic book series “The Sadhu,” which was co-created by Gotham Chopra, the son of renowned spiritual leader Deepak Chopra. Canton also co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Chopra and Sharad Devarajan, which is entitled Warrior: Revenge of the Sadhu.
Devarajan and Chopra are the co-founders of Graphic India, which is part of comic book company Liquid Comics and CA Media LP, which belong under the Asia-based arm of Peter Chernin’s The Chernin Group. “The Sadhu” was co-created by Chopra and Jeevan Kang, and belongs to a comic book company known as Virgin Comics, a relatively new contender in the crowded comic book industry. “The Sadhu” is the first and thus far only Virgin Comics property that has its own film adaptation in development.
The story behind the comic book series goes something like this – during the British occupation of India in 1858, the family of British soldier named James Jenson is murdered by a corrupt officer in the Bengal colony. Jenson seeks training from mystic sadhus in the forests of India, training for years before returning with supernatural powers and a thirst for vengeance.
The comic series has been largely praised by readers and critics, with several comparing it to the “Sandman” series by Neil Gaiman, which is also getting the big-screen treatment courtesy of Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The mix of fantasy and religion is said to be a key distinguishing factor for “The Sadhu,” and is part of the reason that it has drawn attention from Hollywood.
Canton is no stranger to such film adaptations. In addition to the 300 films, which also mix history and fantasy to create a large-scale comic book aesthetic on the big screen, Canton has co-produced 2011’sImmortals, which starred Freida Pinto and Man of Steel’s Superman, Henry Cavill.

But mystical tales about India and its surrounding territories have met with limited success in the US. Most recently, 2010’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time tanked at the box office, and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender, which released the same year, was a modest financial success but was viciously panned by critics.
Additionally, both films came under fire for white-washing their casts. Despite being a desi character name Dastaan (meaning “story”), the central character in Prince of Persia was played by Jake Gyllenhaal after Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan reportedly turned down the role. And The Last Airbender was heavily criticized for casting its Asian main character with white actors, and casting Indian-origin actors to play all the villains, including Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel.
It remains to be seen how much time it will take to get “The Sadhu” adaptation off the ground. Although a screenplay is reportedly finished, there’s no guarantee that this will be the final version of it. Additionally, financing has to be locked down, as movies of this ilk typically require at least a $100 million production budget, along with finding a director and cast.
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Welcome Angry Maushi.

Whatever happened to the comic superhero? The vanishing tribe is gradually being replaced by relatable heroes set in identifiable milieus. But will they save the world? Amrita Madhukalya reports.
The comic superhero is a dying breed. For those enthusiasts waiting for the next mega production of superhero movies like Captain America and Batman, this might be a bit of an overstatement. But look around, the graphic panels that were the staple of many growing up years have changed, from the good versus evil trope where the conflicted hero must save the world to relatable stories with real-life protagonists reflecting everyday angst.
Eventually, any genre must bow to the tirades of time. And Indian readers are also evolving, with a growing fan following for relatable characters set in identifiable times. "How long will a superhero save the world? People today are curious and willing to invest in newer characters rooted in reality," says Jatin Verma, a self-confessed comic enthusiast and the man behind India's Comic Con.
As Verma says it, he and his friends started their own event in Delhi to avoid the expense of travelling abroad to a comic convention. Within four years, the turnout has gone from 25,000 to over a lakh, apart from smaller conventions in Mumbai and Bangalore.
"It is not easy to compete with established characters, some with a history that spans over seven decades. But this is a growing trend and holds huge potential. In India, we were never entirely obsessed with superheroes. The Indian reader is open. This encourages the experimentation to come out with something different," says Verma.
Manas Mohan, CEO of ACK Media, the publishing house that manages the Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle titles, could not agree more.
"A story of conflict usually depends on the good-versus-evil trope where humankind needs to invent a superhero who will take care of the dirty work. In our stable, the thought process has been to make the story relatable to the younger generation."

"Whenever the Indian comic reader needed a superhero, we came up with a mythological character with superpowers. You cannot disagree that Shiva's third eye is more powerful than Cyclops'," he adds.
ACK's titles are today available on various digital platforms, and Mohan says they are now selling more titles than ever. "Kids are consuming a lot of comics. But circumstances have changed. Suppandi today will not be found near a bullock cart, but with a mobile phone. As long as people read our titles, we will adapt to the medium," he says.
Apart from mythological characters, everyday mundane characters are drawing in readers. At this year's Comic Con, despite the presence of stalwarts like David Lloyd (V for Vendetta) and Mark Waid (Captain America), one of the most crowded sessions was the one moderated by Faisal, the creator of Garbage Bin, a comic that depicts everyday issues seen through the eyes of a middle-class Indian family. The massively-popular comic, which comes out in Hindi and English, has more than 6,08,000 followers on Facebook. There are also indie productions like Campfire, Holy Cow and Orange Radius coming out with characters such as the blood-loving Aghori, Parashu and Angry Maushi.
Nitin Singh, 27, is one comic reader who's had it with superheroes. "Superhero comics today are overpriced and develop upon plots that have been around for decades... Characters don't age and plots do not evolve. Why should a reader pay?"
Though comic artists are creating fresh characters, more experimentation is needed, insiders admit.
"The general decline of the superhero is because there is very less on offer. Artists must try and make more memorable characters like the immortal Tinkle characters," says Sumit Kumar, author and comic-columnist with News Laundry.
"With the historical comics that I am working on, I try and keep the comic entertaining and fluid. Characters must be relatable to the reader. More importantly, a comic must tell stories and create content that is identifiable. That is the only way to reach out to a bigger audience. Superheroes can be humane too," he adds.
The comic industry in India is itself in a state of flux, says Kumar. "We must agree that this is no longer the Golden Age of comics where home-grown comics sold lakhs of copies every month. Yet, apart from Western comics and popular Indian characters, there are many indie publishers that are doing interesting things in comics. There's Grassroots/World Comics that travels to small towns and cities and holds two-day comic workshops," he says.
Verma, too, feels comics must reflect contemporary issues. "The business strategy of indie publishers is to break away from evident tropes and focus on unique characters. This will subsist only when creators come out with unique, issue-based comics that are ideally set on a mundane backdrop. There is so much potential Indian creators are sitting on," he says.
According to Manish Dhingra of Readwhere, a digital platform that retails comics online apart from other publications, old characters like Chacha Choudhary and Suppandi (from Tinkle comics) are still popular but "largely, traditional characters are on a decline".
The other problem is one of fresh talent. "Youngsters barely take up comic art seriously. After droves of children waste years chasing an engineering or medical degree, there will only be a tiny trickle who might take up comics seriously," says Kumar.
Source:-                                                                                                        Amrita Madhukalya

Sunday, March 9, 2014

From beauties to nerdish, superwoman to supervillain, following are our five most popular women cartoon characters

Wonder Woman 
(Best superwoman character)
Creator: Disney
Diana aka Wonder Woman is a heartthrob. Not only were the Greek gods from Amazon, men across the globe were fascinated by her.  Considering the saviour aspect of her, she possessed some powers like – super strength, invulnerability, flight, combat skill, combat strategy and superhuman agility. First featured in All-Star Comics (1941) and then screened on TV and flicks in series’ of Superman, Batman, Justice League, Green Lantern, and her own TV show too.

Wilma Flintstone – The Flintstones(Best cartooned homemaker)
 Hanna Barbera
It isn’t so easy to control a cartooned family; Wilma Flintstone has managed it well, since 1960. First seen in The Flintstone Flyer, Wilma has been portraying her character pretty good. Graphic wise, the character is too lean and beautiful to be put as a mother and wife of caveman Fred.  On TV Wilma and her conversation with her neighbours was an important part of the series. DC Comics has a comic on The Flintstones.

Velma Dace Dinkley –Scooby Doo(Best nerd/tech freak on TV)
Creator: Hanna Barbera
When you are surrounded by a good-for-nothing dog – Scooby Doo and a slacker like Shaggy Rogers, you have to be accompanied by a smarty like Velma. Yes, she does lose her glasses very often yet, plays a vital role in solving mysteries. Scooby-Doo was an immensely popular Comedy-Horror show. The characters were well enacted and the background music was adjusted particularly to suit that exacting scene.
Jasmine – Aladdin
(Best beauty)

Creator: Walt Disney
Indian mythological stories have attracted cartoon creators abroad for very long now. Like for instance – Alibaba, Tenali Raman, Akbar Birbal and many other concepts were rolled onto the television screen. Jasmine – a character created under Arabic concept; twirl of her hair, bluish costume and those heavy golden earrings suited Jasmine so well.

Ursula – The Little Mermaid
(Best Villainess)Creator: Walt Disney
Ursula delivered everything in an obese form –dialogues (voice tone), characters physicality, scary ideas and acts too. This giant character got goose-bumps on me and many other while she enacted the ‘scary’ Ursula who is always against Princess Ariel (the cute little soul).

Saturday, March 8, 2014

जासूसी किस्सों के बादशाह सुरेंद्र मोहन पाठक

शाम के पांच बजे का समय. कृष्णा नगर की भीड़भाड़ और मुहल्ले वाली जिंदगी से कटकर वे नोएडा के पांचवीं मंजिल के फ्लैट के स्टडी रूम में अपने तिलिस्मी संसार में इत्मिनान से बैठे हैं. बुक रैक में जेम्स हेडली चेइज, सिडनी शेलडन, जेफ्रे आर्चर और न जाने दुनिया के कितने बेस्टसेलर लेखकों की किताबें आगंतुकों का इस्तकबाल करती हैं.

सामने ही उनके अगले थ्रिलर की पांडुलिपि पड़ी है और उस पर बड़े हर्फों में लिखा हैः सुरेंद्र मोहन पाठक. यह सस्पेंस और थ्रिलर का मायावी संसार रचने वाला वह लेखक है जिसकी कोई भी किताब 40,000 से कम नहीं छपती और विमल सीरीज की उनकी 42 किताबें लगभग एक करोड़ से ज्यादा बिक चुकी हैं.

पाठक अपने पचास साल के सफर में उपन्यास और जोक बुक्स समेत 300 किताबें लिख चुके हैं.

यह उनके लेखन की गोल्डन जुबली है और इस मौके पर उनका उपन्यास कोलाबा कॉन्सपिरेसी उनके जन्मदिन 19 फरवरी को लॉन्च किया गया, और बताया जा रहा है कि लॉन्च से पहले ही इसकी 15,000 कॉपियां बुक हो चुकी थीं.

प्रकाशक हार्पर कॉलिन्स ने इसकी इतनी ही कॉपियां छापी थीं, अब माह भर में इसे रिप्रिंट करने की बात कही जा रही है. इतनी कामयाबी के बावजूद 74 वर्षीय  पाठक थोड़ी मायूसी से कहते हैं, ‘‘हिंदी में राइटर की कोई हस्ती नहीं है.’’

अपने उपन्यासों से जिज्ञासा पैदा करने वाले पाठक का जीवन किसी रोमांच से कम नहीं है. 1947 में देश के बंटवारे के बाद वे लाहौर से कड़कड़ाती ठंड में बतौर रिफ्यूजी अपने पिता के संग दिल्ली पहुंचे थे. सिर पर छत नहीं थी और न ही कोई आसरा. पिता अंग्रेजी कंपनी में काम करते थे. इत्तेफाक से इस कंपनी का दफ्तर दिल्ली में था, सो पिता को वहां नौकरी मिल गई. फिर ठिकाना बना शाहदरा.

दिल्ली में पाठक ने एमएससी की डिग्री ली और इसी के दम पर उन्हें इंडियन टेलीफोन इंडस्ट्रीज में नौकरी मिल गई. 1964 में मिली इस नौकरी से उन्हें 200 रु. मिलते थे. पैसे कम पड़ते थे. सो, यह मजबूरी उनके अंदर छिपे लेखक को बाहर ले आई. वे बताते हैं, ‘‘जिस तरह ताश खेलने को ऐब माना जाता है, उसी तरह हमारे परिवार में नॉवेल पढऩा भी किसी ऐब से कम नहीं था.

इसलिए मैं अकसर चोरी-छिपे पढ़ता था. पकड़ा जाता तो लताड़ भी पड़ती. जब पता चला लिखने लगा हूं तो पिताजी कहते, कोई कोर्स कर ले, जिससे नौकरी में तरक्की मिल जाए. तायाजी तो पिटाई तक कर देते थे.’’

उनकी पहली कहानी 57 साल पुराना आदमी 1959 में मनोहर कहानियां में छपी जबकि पहला उपन्यास सुनील सीरीज का पुराने गुनाह, नए गुनहगार 1963 में छपा. इस दौरान वे, टाइटल राइटर का भी काम करते रहे. उन्होंने जेम्स हेडली चेइज के उपन्यासों का अनुवाद भी किया. उनके अनूदित उपन्यासों ने खास पहचान बनाई. उन्होंने लगभग 15 उपन्यासों का अनुवाद किया.

वे खुद को थोक में लिखने वाला राइटर बताते हैं, और दो माह में एक उपन्यास तैयार कर देते हैं. हालांकि कोलाबा कॉन्सपिरेसी को लिखने में उन्हें चार माह का समय लगा. यह पूछने पर कि क्यों तो वे चुटकी लेते हुए कहते हैं, ‘‘प्रकाशक को इम्प्रेस करने के लिए.’’ वे जितने विनम्र हैं, अपने हक को लेकर उतने ही जागरूक भी.

वे चार बार प्रकाशकों से हाइकोर्ट में दो-चार हो चुके हैं. वे बताते हैं, ‘‘यह केस रिप्रिंट करने, नकली किताब छापने को लेकर हुए थे.’’ आज भी वे रोजाना आठ घंटे राइटिंग को देते हैं. यह लिखने का ही नतीजा है कि उनकी बीच की उंगली में गड्ढा पड़ चुका है, और वे बड़े उत्साह से इसे दिखाते हैं.

यह उनकी कलम का जादू ही है कि जोधपुर के एक पाठक ने किसी केस की फाइल ही उन्हें भेज  दी थी और कहा था कि पुलिस इसे सॉल्व करने में नाकाम रही है. प्लीज आप इसे सॉल्व कर दें. वे अपना अगला नॉवेल पूरा कर चुके हैं, और नए नॉवेल पर काम शुरू कर दिया है. विमल सीरीज की उनकी किताब 65 लाख की डकैती 18 बार रिप्रिंट हो चुकी है.

इस किताब का 2009 में टाइम  पत्रिका में जिक्र हुआ था और इसकी ढाई करोड़ प्रतियां बिकने की बात कही गई थी. पर मिस्ट्री के मास्टर को इस बात का रंज है कि हिंदी में पल्प फिक्शन को वह सम्मान नहीं मिलता जैसा इंग्लिश में मिलता है. वे कहते हैं, ‘‘अंग्रेजी की किताब अगर 5,000 बिक जाए तो उसे बेस्टसेलर कह देते हैं और हमारे काम को लुगदी साहित्य कहकर खारिज कर देते हैं. हमें अछूत बनाकर रखा ग
या है.’’
नरेंद्र सैनी-सौजन्‍य: इंडिया टुडे-नई दिल्ली, 25 फरवरी 2014

Global Thinking: Kamala Khan Marvel launches female Muslim Superhero

Comic books never caught my eye when I was a kid. The idea of Superman, Batman and Spidey outwitting and beating criminals to a bloody pulp never stood out to me. It always struck me as an old idea rehashed 1,000 times.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the stories of victory, defeat and betrayal — they’re awesome. But they got a little old after awhile. Marvel, however, decided to break the paradigm of the “typical” superhero, and did it in the best possible way.
GraphicKamala Khan is the fourth superhero to use the alter ego Ms. Marvel. Khan, however, is the first Muslim Pakistani-American to fill the role. The creators of the comic book don’t shy away from Khan’s background. Her identity is tied to her Islamic beliefs, and she struggles with many of her family’s traditions. Khan follows the likes of Sooraya Qadir, a.k.a. Dust, a Muslim character who appeared in a 2002 edition of the X-Men.
When I first heard about Marvel’s newest superhero, I was intrigued. I thought “wow, that’s a revolutionary idea.” If you saw the headlines paired with the story about Ms. Marvel, you might think the same. But in reality, Kamala Khan is part of a growing movement. In my eyes, what is important is the effort by Marvel to create superheroes that don’t subscribe to the typical construct of a superhero.
The typical superhero of old is an All-American, bigger-than-life macho-man or super-girl. I guess I like that Marvel has taken on the stance that “anyone can be a superhero.” The idea that a Pakistani-American isn’t being labeled as a “terrorist” is great. The fact that a Pakistani-American is Ms. Marvel is something we can all be proud of.
And while Marvel is taking steps forward in the fictional universe with Khan, we see young Malala Yousafzai — who I see as a superhero — stand up for what is hers. Yousafzai is a Pakistani girl who was shot in the face and survived. She stood up against the Pakistani Taliban for her right to an education.
You could argue comic books have little importance in the grander scheme of things. But comic books make a big statement in a small way. We won’t have blockbuster movies about a Muslim superhero until we can all be excited about a comic book portraying one. When Marvel created Khan, it took a shot at breaking the typical paradigm of superheroes. While it’s a small gesture when measured up to the entire comic book world, it’s another step in the movement for equality in entertainment.
For the larger part of the decade, there was a potent cloud of racism and hatred towards Muslim people. Today, the fact we can portray young Muslim girls as superheroes is a beacon of hope for what is to come. Sure, a lot of people will say “it’s just a comic book.” But I’d like to think somewhere out there, it’s making a difference in a young Muslim girl’s life. And even if the message gets lost and Khan’s character doesn’t sell well, at least a young girl could have her own superhero to look up to.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Vimanika Comics' I am Kalki Vol-4

Vimanika Comics, founded and spearheaded by Karan Vir Arora is currently working on Volume 4 in I am Kalki Series. The story line of this book revolves around the flood calamity that had taken place last year at Uttarakhand in India.
Previously, I am Kalki the golden book and the black book vol. 3 had grabbed the Best Cover Award at Comic Con India editions of 2011 and 2013.
Revealing more on the synopsis of this book to, Karan Vir Arora, CEO and Editor in Chief, Vimanika Comics, says, “The disaster at Uttarakhand looked natural, it felt natural, but was it really natural? Or was it a nightmare concocted by demons to put Kalki through the ultimate test? When several faithful followers end up trapped facing certain death during Uttarakhand’s terrifying earthquake, Kalki races against time and Fate in order to save lives and find answers.”
Adds more “When everything in his life seems to be crumbling apart, Vishnu’s encounter with a kind young stranger who risks his own life to save the young boy seems all too good to be true. With no one else left to live for and nowhere else to go Vishnu places everything in this man’s hands not knowing whether happiness will follow or regret.”
“Satya in his passionate quest to uncover the truth behind Ramesh’s political party and ideals ends up in Mumbai slums to find a woman that has isolated herself from the world after her life was shattered by Ramesh. Little does Satya know what he is getting himself into – hidden truths that people with power don’t want the world to know; truths that people are willing to kill for.”, Informs further.
Kalki has been entirely conceptualized by Karan Vir along with wife Supriya Arora and for the very first time Vimanika’ senior artist, Amit Tayal, would be sketching & coloring this issue from I Am Kalki series.
“We would also be introducing some concept arts of places related and connected to the Kalki universe.” Shares more
Karan Vir feels that through this book, which is tentatively set for delivery in May 2014, he is addressing an environmental and social cause in a contemporary way.
Writer of this book, Shashank Avvaru gives a concluding statement by saying “The Uttarakhand disaster has touched and broken millions of lives. Many of us wished for a what-if situation in which everyone could survive. With The White Book, that is what we are doing. If not in reality, at least on paper, we are trying to produce hope in a natural calamity.”