Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s classic tales are no longer restricted to a Bengali-reading audience as Harsho Mohan Chattoraj releases his adaptation of Chakrapurer Chakkare.
Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay is a name that every Bengali-literature-enthusiast is familiar with. A treasure-trove of laughs and beautiful stories, the first Mukhopadhyay story to be adapted as a graphic novel was Gosain Baganer Bhoot– a heart-warming tale about a young boy’s unexpected friendship with a ghost. And the latest release, Chakrapurer Chakkare is a story of life- to put it rather simply.
Adapted by Harsho Mohan Chattoraj, the 64 page English graphic novel, is not just for readers who have been exposed to the works of this Bengali storyteller. “You don’t have be exposed to Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s works or read Bengali to enjoy this graphic novel,” smiles Chattoraj who had first read the story almost 15 years ago. A simple yet beautiful story about life, this graphic novel tells us about a man who is running for his life. Though the story shows us how life can be full of trials and tribulations for people who are essentially good, it does not let us give up hope. It teaches us that good souls lurk in shadows everywhere- souls who are willing to help you when you are in need. With a generous sprinkling of the supernatural present, Chattoraj’s artwork makes this adaption not just interesting, but beautiful as well, bringing to life little nuances of Bengali culture and superstitions.
Released last year, the book already is on its way to winning hearts. And needless to say, Chattoraj’s journey as the creator was quite a hectic one. After all, adapting, translating, drawing and colouring an entire graphic novel is not an easy task. “I started off by dividing the story into sections and then the sections into pages. The script was tackled first,” explains the artist. With the script for the graphic novel in place, placement of dialogues and actions that were to appear in each page became much easier. “The artwork was up next followed by colours and finally the lettering,” says Chattoraj who has developed the graphic novel almost entirely on his own. And the results have been fantastic! Chattoraj’s acquaintance with the author, his previous works as well as his exposure to Bengali culture makes the read easy for even those who are far removed from this cozy little world.
But amidst all the appreciation, no one seems to realize the artist’s efforts to do justice to Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s story. “I gave up colouring some years back because of a problem I have with my knuckles.” But thanks to modern technology, Chattoraj could complete this graphic novel on his Wacom!
Adaptations in the realm of comics are never an easy task to pull off. Over the years, there have been instances of creators taking artistic liberties that have done nothing but destroy the essence of the inspiration. But Chattoraj’s take on this classic, thankfully, is not like others. Though just 64 pages long, the comic does justice to the true spirit of Shirshendu and pays a lovely tribute to an author a lot of us grew up with.