5 Must Read Indian Graphic Novels

Great that you have finally joined the bandwagon Hollywood swears by and sold your hearts to the superheroes. Even better if you have chosen to explore the realm defined by Neil Gaiman, Marjane Satrapi and the likes. But really, if you have never bothered to explore the world of Indian graphic novels and believe that mythology is the only idea that rules supreme here, you have been mistaken.

And it is time for you to feel ashamed.

However, this is also the time for redemption.

After all, you do have a team of experts sitting around, waiting to bully you into agreeing with their tastes.

If given the chance, we would strap you down and tape your eyes wide open and make you read for hours… but I don’t suppose that is particularly comfortable. Instead, you could decide to trust this review and give these graphic novels a chance.

They might not be comparable to the recommendations of the wiser, but they just might convince you to give Indian comics the chance they really deserve.

Kashmir Pending: A Tale Of Redemption And Determination

We all know the issues that have been plaguing Kashmir for years now. But when Srinagar based writer Naseer Ahmed chooses to portray it in a graphic fashion, there is more to Kashmir than you could have ever imagined. Illustrated by Saurabh Singh, this coming of age tale traces the life of a young man, a reforming militant. Armed with the determination to bring about change and the passion that overshadows fear, the story narrated in the darkness of the cells of a prison in Srinagar, is a grim encounter with what can loosely be defined as reality. A great story accompanied by some great artwork, Kashmir has never been this graphically wonderful.

 Hush: For Sometimes, You Don’t Have The Right Words

Exploring ideas of child abuse and violence, the lack of words to accompany the /images perhaps makes the book so special. About a young girl Maya and a shocking shooting in an Indian school, Hush not only manages to capture the spirit of teenage angst and western influences on a young mind, it also seamlessly moves back and forth in time making the narrative even more credible. And at the end of a read, all I can say is that Hush is more a journey than just a comic.

 Delhi Calm: Sepia Tinted Revelations

The perfect blend of fact and fiction, the sepia tinited pages of this book transports you to 1975, the year when Indira Gandhi declared that India was in a state of emergency. A journey through times of chaos accompanied by three impressive young men, VP, Parvez and Vivek, staunch Marxists and believers of The Prophet, politics, democracy, corruption and doubts define the essence of this novel. By perfectly capturing the soul of Delhi in 1975, Ghosh’s graphic novel in many ways is a treat. Yes, you encounter flaws as you pour through the pages, but even then, the book is one helluva treat.

Corridor: Of Twists and Tales

Almost a decade after the publication of Corridor, the book still holds its ground as one of the best Indian graphic novels to be published and for good reasons too. Banerjee, the puppeteer controlling the moves of the legendry Jehangir Rangoonwala, and narrating stories of a bunch of youngsters, who typically are dazed and confused and at times, idealistic too. Undeniably sexy and heck, even kinky, if you are reading this bit hoping to find out more about India’s very first graphic novel, it is time for you to perhaps reevaluate yourself as a comics person. Because to not know Corridor or Banerjee is sheer blasphemy!

Legends of Halahala: Words are Never Enough

Coming from the man who calls himself an ancient narrator of stories, Appupen’s second episode about the life and times of Halahala proved to not just steal my heart, but worship him in ways only a godless woman can. Lacking words and offering vibrant /images as explanations, Appupen’s second graphic novel is in one word: beautiful. A book that leaves room for thought, it is not surprising to realize that there are more to the stories than just brilliant /images. Dealing with social and moralistic issues with the theme of love connecting each story, this, contrary to what people believe, is a book that allows you to discover new thoughts with every read. Charming, funny and brilliant, Legends of Halahala makes you want to know more about this strange world that we see through Appupen’s eyes.