“Ruskin Bond’s writing has touched so many of our lives; there is an instant connect,” believes Reena Puri, Editor, Amar Chitra Katha (ACK), while elaborating about the newly-launched category from ACK’s stable — Contemporary Classics, which debuts with Ruskin Bond’s The Blue Umbrella and Angry River.
ACK was contemplating the idea of introducing a new section. At a brainstorming session, it was decided that contemporary classics would be the chosen genre, with Ruskin Bond emerging as a clear favourite. So, last year, while scriptwriters Nimmy Chacko and Sanjana Kapur were at the Dehradun Kids Festival, they met with Ruskin Bond (who resides in Landour, Mussoorie) and spent time with the literary great, discussing about their plan, to convert his classics in comic book format.
A classic takes shape
“Mr Bond was extremely involved at every stage, he was happy with the progress even as the edit team consulted him from time to time,” recalls Puri, about how the comic book dream was realised. While the script took about a month to take shape, the artwork requiredfour months, since illustrator Sabu Sarasan needed time to research the background of people and their costumes as well as its landscape. She also lets us in to the fact that while the ACK template didn’t undergo any drastic change for this new category, the visuals carry more details since ACK titles are now available on iPad; “Our storytelling structure hasn’t changed, nor have we experimented too much with panels and colours,” she reassures us.
The entire book was created in-house and the end result makes for a delightful read. Flip through the pages of this comic book, and it’s sure to open the reader up to a new avenue to explore. “I believe this format will help introduce young readers to Mr Bond’s works at the school curriculum. In fact, most the higher classes have to learn about his stories; this format will help ease children into such classics from an early age,” Puri believes.
The ACK team is looking at exploring the works of several other greats of modern Indian literature including Premchand and Amrita Pritam, along with more from Ruskin Bond’s treasure trove. The Blue Umbrella and Angry River, Ruskin Bond, Amar Chitra Katha, R50 Available at bookstores