Graphic Novelist Shamik Dasgupta Interview
His last graphic novel Devi Chaudhurani tasted great success and positive feedback from the readers. Shamik Dasgupta, the man behind the graphic novel Devi Chaudhurani has two more releases during this Book Fair. The first is Taranath Tantrik and the second is The Caravan Blood War 2. Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent caught up with the talented graphic novelist at the Book fair.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana– Welcome to Sholoana Bangaliana. Two of your books have released during the book fair. Can you throw some light on the plot of the two books?
Shamik Dasgupta– Thanks!! Taranath Tantrik is a character developed by writer Bibhutibhuson Bandopadhyay. He wrote two stories and then he died. We have re-launched the character and given the character a look. The book does not have a description though.
Caravan Bloodwar 2 is a sequel to the original 2013 book. This book became quite hit since its inception. This is like a Bollywood masala film. No one had earlier worked on vampires in the Graphic novel genre and we have started this tradition. The book has the feel of the films like Sholay, Khotte Sikke. We have blended Bollywood with that of the vampires. We have been checking out the responses and so far the response has been positive.
From where did you receive the inspiration for doing something with vampires in the graphic novel genre?
My initial idea was to do something in the Bollywood way. But I also wanted it to be something new and extraordinary. Action and horror has therefore been added to this so as to make it more appealing. Some studios have also approached me but I guess it is too early to reveal anything about it.
Taranath is also a detective per say in your graphic novel, but in the original book there was no such reference. How different is the treatment and why the introduction of the detective element?
Characters like Feluda, Byomkesh, have a great place in the heart and minds of the people. Hence I thought of going the same way yet making the detective slightly different. This is not the typical suave looking guy. He is rather a psychic detective who is very different from the others that most of the people have read. Moreover the political angle in the story is also interesting and I hail this novel as one of my most political graphic novels. The story starts from 1970 during the Naxalite movement and ends in the modern times. The depiction may enrage some political bodies but I think as a creator I must have that amount of freedom. Right?
Do you think there will be political repercussions as a result?
I don’t know but if that happens (laughs) a bit change will be done.
Is this introduction of the detective element in keeping in line with the huge turnout of detective films in Bollywood and Tollywood?
Well yes there has been quite an influence. Some days back I met Dibakar Banerjee and I must confess that I am highly impressed with his treatment of Byomkesh. It had the graphic novel treatment in the posters. He also said that there is a rise in the graphic novels genre.
In this book you have spoken at length about the socio political condition of the state and that includes everything right from the Naxalite movement of the 70s to the current political scenario, how candid have you been in your views and presentations?
I have been very candid. There are many brutal scenes which have not been shown before by anyone. TNT part 2 begins with a Naxalite running away and saving his life. Tortures have been shown and these kind of graphic scenes have never been documented before.
Do you think that these scenes of violence will have an impact on the young reader’s mind which may be either positive or negative?
As a creator my job is to create and I don’t worry about the impact. Impact will be there. How the audiences will be reacting is entirely their discretion. In recent times, those who are working in the graphic novel genre, we strictly cater to the age group of 25 to 45 and not to the young children. Even in the books it is mentioned that this is not for children. There are books for them like Nonte Fonte or Batul which has a charm of their own. Our audiences are different and hence the work that we do is also different.
Both these graphic novels are very different in their approach and presentation; what role did your publishers Yali Dream Creations and Speech Bubble Entertainment have to play in the creation of these unique works of art?
Yali Dreams Creations were the first who actually believed in me and helped me to bring out the graphic novel. I was rejected many time before that. As for Speech Bubble Entertainment, they always urge me to take up a Bengali plot and give it a nice modern touch so as to cater to the modern audiences.
Every literary meet speakers, from different walks of life are seen animatedly talking about the fading interests in books, what is your take on this grave issue?
There is a renewal of interest in books. This is because television has exhausted itself and the audiences have nothing new to watch there. Hence they are now turning to two mediums- one is film and the other is books of any type and kind. The trend of reading books is back which is welcome.
What is the feedback that you have been getting for the two books?
The response is very positive and I feel proud. I have worked hard on the books and when there is positive feedback, it is very motivational.
Devi Chaudhurani was very popular and received immense success. Have you thought of a sequel to the story?
Well, yes, there is a plan of a sequel. The first part showed Prafulla becoming Devi Chaudhurani. What happens next is what the sequel will highlight. We are planning to bring it out in four books though.
What are your expectations from the book? Do you feel that their success will be at par or more compared with Devi Chaudhurani?
Oh!! I will love them to become as successful as Devi Chaudhurani or even more. It will be great to have one million copies of the book been sold. That will happen with time and with word of mouth spread about the books.
We wish the young and talented graphic novelist all the best and hope he continues with his good work in the coming days too.
Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.