M3 Features

Amar Chitra Katha makes a comeback in Bangla

January 24, 2014

Want to read about Emperor Akbar’s adviser Birbal in a Bangla comic book? Or introduce someone to legends like Mother Teresa and Rabindranath Tagore through biographical comics? The popular comic book series, Amar Chitra Katha (ACK), is launching translated Bangla titles once again, after about 15 years of first publishing them.

Companion of childhood

Started by late Anant Pai in 1967, ACK focuses on telling tales from Indian epics and mythology in an engaging comic format for children and has 563 titles so far, in eight languages, to which Bengali, Gujarati and Marathi are being added now. It aims to translate about a hundred of these in a year’s time, which will include titles related to Bengal, such as biographical works of Swami Vivekananda and Tagore and stories by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee.

“Kolkata is one of the largest reading cities of the country and we want to expand there. Around the country, regional language readership is increasing at a much faster rate today than of English,” said Manas Mohan, COO, ACK Media.

Between 1978 and 1999, Pai had published about 20 translated Bengali titles, before which they went out of print. Interestingly, one Kolkata-based Subhadip Roy has put up some of the old used magazines up for sale on OLX under classified advertisements.

Rekindling fond memories

“To begin with, we have translated titles on Hanuman, Ganesh, Birbal and the like as these are most popular with children. We will soon come out with more regional-oriented titles too,” said Reena Puri, editor, ACK.

“ACK had translated works in most Indian languages, though they scaled down their production post-1980s. It is good if they are back and there will be more Bengali comic titles to read,” said English professor Rimi B Chatterjee.

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