A US-based publishing house has brought out a graphic novel on Bankim Chandra Chattapadhyay’s classic Devi Chaudhurani. The response has been encouraging and the publisher’s next target is another Bankim classic, Anandamath.
Graphic novelist Shamik Dasgupta has adapted Devi Chaudhurani into a graphic novel format spread over two volumes: Matsanyana – which was released recently and Dwairath, which might be released by the end of the year through US-based publisher Yali Dream Creations.
“I wish to work on more such classics if we get a good response. After Devi Chaudhurani’s second volume is done, I may work on another classic by Bakim Chandra, Anandamath, as a prequel to Devi,” said Dasgupta, who is also working on five volumes of Chandrakanta in graphic novel format.
Graphic novels use comic art to tell a storyline. Works of eminent writers, such as Satyajit Ray’s Feluda series, Devki Nandan Khatri’s Chandrakanta and Sunil Gangopadhyay’s Kakababu series have been brought out in graphic novel format in recent years.
Dasgupta got artistes from Mumbai, Brazil and Mexico to work on various aspects of Devi Chaudhurani.
An interesting aspect of Dasgupta’s adaptation is that the basic plot of the novel remains the same but the main characters have been developed in a unique way. “For example, the character of Bhawani Pathak is aged 45-50 years old as in the original work. I have shown him suffering from a rare growth arrest disease (hypogonadotropic hypogonadism) – due to which he looks like an adolescent always. Visually, the character looks young and inconspicuous, but is very powerful,” said Dasgupta.
Devi Chaudhurani – Matsanyaya also makes references to slavery and the rise of the Anglo-Indian community, learning of foreign languages and species of sharks – all weaved into the narrative of the classic which was first published in 1884. Several art forms – from Japanese Manga to Bengal’s Patachitra have been used to communicate various parts of the storyline.
To appeal to young adults, Dasgupta has given Devi Chaudhurani a rather appealing appearance. She is shown wearing a white sari with red border and wears a big red bindi as she wields a sword with aplomb. “This novel targets those between 13 and 35 years of age,” said Dasgupta.