By Riya Yadav and Arka Mondal
New Delhi: At a time when “Harry Potter” has replaced “Thakurmar Jhuli“ and comic strips of Spiderman, Avengers, Thor, etc have eclipsed “Chacha Chaudhary”, the bold endeavour by Speech Bubble Entertainment is on the verge of reviving Indian culture, literature and language.
We get introduced to the world of comics during adolescence, and these comic strips do play a major role in influencing our personality.
Do you remember any Indian comic character? Probably ‘No’. And this is because our craving for the western culture and the cultural invasion from the west has also attacked our upbringing. With parents encouraging their children to read Tintin, Phantom and other characters instead of Indian characters, our home-grown comic heroes stared at a bleak future.
A paradigm change was needed to haul the Indian comics culture out of the dark days and revive them.
However, comics like Taranath Tantrik City of Sorrows and Kolkata Kaleidoscope (non-fictional graphic novel) focus on nuances of Indian cities. The cities of India have stories waiting to be discovered, the stories of a glorious past which date back to centuries.
In a bid to uphold Indian language and characters from Indian writings, Prabuddha Neogi along with his friends launched Speech Bubble Entertainment and started publishing a comic book series Taranath Tantrik City of Sorrows.
It is about an investigator of paranormal activities, and together with his travelling band of vagabonds, he is a part of a psychological horror story. Based on a novel written by the famous Bengali writer Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, the comic strips aims to expand the reach of the famous writer using the English Language as a tool.
It is published in English, however, there are plans to bring it out in different regional languages, says Prabuddha Neogi.
NewsGram: Any particular reason behind choosing Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay?
Prabuddha Neogi: The choice was obvious, his writings covered a plethora of subjects besides touching the emotional chord of people. Besides, people only got the opportunity to know about novels which were made into movies by Satyajit Ray. Taranath Tantrik City of Sorrows is a humble effort to showcase his writings that had mesmerised readers for ages.
NewsGram: Why comics?
Prabuddha Neogi: There are other famous writers like Narayan Gangopadhyay whose stories are being translated into comics books. Hopefully, fresh stories by new comic writers will also be introduced in near future because the readers are fed with the same old books with new covers.
NewsGram: Why Indian stories?
Prabuddha Neogi: There are wonderful stories from Kashmir to Kanyakumari which lay untold and unexplored. Since the superhero category is highly overrated, introducing new characters which are more real and realistic will catch the fantasy of the readers. So it is time to introduce a new flavour to Indian storytelling.
NewsGram: What are the challenges?
Prabuddha Neogi: Publishers feel disappointed when people look for a maximum number of pages at the minimum price. People prefer to spend money buying video games and watching 3D films rather than buying comics. However, the future is bright as the quality of production by Indian publishers is of international standards. The content, illustrations, binding can compete with any globally acclaimed comics. Cooperation from other brands is necessary for building up a good market for the trend which began in 1930s but is yet to be explored.
The target readers are people from all age group. Production is being done through online web series and motion comics and publicity through social media, sample artwork and poster distribution. Newer ways are being explored for making comic reading a trend in the young generation. Indian readers are not a fan of comic reading as in the West, so lucrative and modern methods are being applied to lure new readership, he added.