In September 2012, we were the first Indian newspaper to reveal a new e-book, Mumbai Confidential, by an Indian team of US-based Saurav Mohapatra and Mumbai-based illustrator Vivek Shinde that gave crime noir a new lease of life. The title, complete with believable characters, a city-themed script and a pacy, gritty storyboard, is about Arjun Kadam, a one-time encounter specialist and rising star of the police force. Now, Mumbai Confidential is set for a paperback release later this month.
The title’s racy format, across ten chapters, and its minimalist yet intense colour palette, will please followers of this form of reading and art. After being among the first few to read the title, we found the fleshing out of Mumbai’s underbelly, the language and the edgy yet sensitive character portrayals, as refreshing and engaging. Rarely has the city’s inherent fabric and tension been translated with such skill in this format.
Excerpts from an email interview with creator Saurav Mohapatra:
Q. What has the journey been like since the e-version was released in 2012? Did you anticipate the kind of positive reactions?
A. The journey, as you put it, has been satisfying. It is the greatest feeling for a creator to find out that something you poured your heart and soul into has found resonance across the world with readers. Every story has a destiny. When Vivek and I created Mumbai Confidential, it was simply the Indian crime noir story that we ourselves wished to read. It has been heartening to find that people across the globe enjoying something we worked so hard
Q. Have you made any modifications to the story line/colour palette since it is being published in hard copy format?
A. No, this edition is an Indian paperback edition of the international hardcover edition. Our Indian fan base has been very supportive of the digital and the hardcover editions, but as a $25 import, we always felt that MC was kind of priced out of reach for the average Indian comic book fan. Vivek and I would like to thank my commissioning editor, Ameya Nagarajan for championing the cause of an Indian paperback edition and finally making it happen.
We had to remove one short story titled Full Moon due to concerns over nudity and sexually explicit themes from the Indian edition. Otherwise, the rest of the book is the same as the content and presentation in the international paperback edition.
Q. How would you hard sell this title in a sentence to first-time readers?
A. Mumbai Confidential is the seminal Bollywood’s angry young man/encounter cop movie blended with Western hardboiled crime noir; think of it as Zanjeer/Ab Tak Chhappan meets Sin City.
Mumbai Confidential. Saurav Mohapatra & Vivek Shinde, Inked, Penguin Books. R499. Set for release on July 18, 2014