Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ganpat [and Kali and Ram] on NPR

I love NPR, I really do, whether it is their reports on the presidential debates, or on obscure islands in the pacific, the reporters are not shy to [fairly] report on issues that are not covered by the mainstream media here.

Of late, Laura Sydell has been reporting from India on the media industry, and today's Morning Edition had two reports from her.

The first was about how Virgin Comics is now making graphic novel versions of the Ramayana and the story of Raktabeej and Kali.
Less than two years old, Virgin Comics has already published dozens of titles, with names like Sadhu, Ramayan, Uma and Kali. All of them are classic figures, and the staff here knows these stories from childhood.

The Virgin Comics illustrators work from a palette of colors and shapes that resemble those you'd find on the walls of a Hindu temple. Their long-haired warriors have narrow hips and robust chests; their voluptuous women drape themselves in colorful saris. Mostly, the stories are heroic journeys, and good generally triumphs over evil.

The Hindu demon Raktavija is the basis for a comic called Virulents.
A writer at Virgin imagined what might happen if you put Raktavija in the middle of the conflict in Afghanistan, and had a group of American and Indian troops discover a nest of the demons — and the result, as presented in Virulents, piqued the interest of filmmaker John Moore.
"It was based on a mythology that people knew little or nothing about," Moore says. "The movie staples have been well worn by now, you know, whether it's vampires or werewolves or guys running around in capes and tights."
I, for one, am happy that they are going to look at the rich Indian mythology, as opposed to the traditional egyptian and greek ones :-). Hopefully our desi filmmakers will also make some good movies [No, Naksha does not count!!] using Indian mythology.

And to end the India-update for the day, they reported on the hit song "Ganpat!". You've got to hear their report on this :-).

P.S. I saw the website of Virgin Comics just now. Check out their take on the Ramayana, and their photo gallery. I wonder how long before the Bajrang-Dal burns down their offices for sacrilege :-P.

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