Wednesday, July 26, 2006


My recent comment (and subsequent criticisms on it) set me into thinking why did I make that comment in the first place - "Sometimes things are so bad, that it is actually fun watching them. It is like reading Chacha Chowdhary comics." (the comment was made in response to why did I enjoy watching movie Insaniyat, a post in itself) :-)

I am sure it will invite the wrath of the die hard fans of Chacha Chaudhary and co. And invite it did. Pran, who is "heartthrob of millions of Indians", has apparently very large following. Growing up, his creations like Mr Chaudhary, Sabu, Rocket, Chachee, Raka, Paploo, Taploo and few other chappies were constant companions of our lives, too. As we read more of it though, the subtle fun (?) in these comics started becoming more apparent. Such as few state-of-the-artly crappy artwork including Chacha's fully-visible-moustache even in the side view, cubic houses with small black rectangles for doors/windows, patches of twigs, flowers, leaves etc lying in the corner to give appearance of greenery, hurriedly scribbled text (which, in some cases, even used to go out of the speech balloon). For Hindi versions, you could have stopped here. But for those who got their hands on the English ones, they could have easily fainted at the language usage, which was extremely funny. (And this, according to this wiki article, was probably intentionally done so as to make Indian children understand easily) I guess this only made it difficult. I crave to meet the genius translator who came up with such sentences. But I need not go far, for their next generation is still in the existence, who instead of writing dialogues in the comic books, write badly formatted emails. Moreover, the characters in the story, apart from Chacha Chaudhary / Sabu / Chachee / Rocket, could well be explained in a single word - buffoon. They existed on the barren lands just to get outsmarted by Chacha or to get thumped by Saboo. I wonder if Chacha really needed "the brain that is faster than the computer" to outsmart those lads. The mystery might be explained if one discovers the computer Pran had in mind when he wrote this masterpiece.

Maybe I am going too far. Maybe comic books are not supposed to be dissected by grown-ups like this. (I first wrote, grown-ups like me, then realized that was a oxymoron) Maybe Pran who had degree in Fine Arts, did not draw these things, but delegated it to a junior draftsman who was sulking, like our present day IT professional, because of less remuneration. Maybe the English translator kept dictionary in front of him/her and literally translated each word as it came. And maybe that was the best we had. Sigh!

But one look at the Calvin and Hobbes, my faith in comics is restored. So let me go back and read the adventures of the Spaceman Spiff. It is a myth, at least for me, that you don't enjoy comics after a certain age.

signing off,

Update: Read this blog to get few more insights on Chacha Chaudhary (with full stories!)

1 comment:

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