Season’s rainfall might have played hide and seek, in this Southern city of India, for the New Year, but one common thing which has gelled with the book-fetish of Chennai, for the past 34 years, was starting the year with a place to cherish their reading passion, which is slowly taking a beating in this Instant world of World Wide Web, and Social Networking.
January 2011, saw BAPASI hosting its 34th Chennai Book Fair, to kick off the new year, and we hoped to cover the event just like 33rd Chennai Book Fair, where we covered the news and events as it happened from the ground.
But the reality and the disappointment surrounding the organizing of Book Fair, sunk in our resolve, and let the efforts of covering the event go down in vain. But, as I met and interacted with the fellow comikers, I realized that they were keen for our blog to continue reporting on our finds from the event, keeping aside the personal likes and dislikes (which I will reserve for the end of the post).
As they say often, no matter what, The Show Must Go On !!! So better late than never, here is our long pending Chennai Book Fair coverage.
Tamil Comics fans who were disappointed to find their favorite Tamil Comics missing from the Book fair this time, were surprised to see what was in store at the usually crowded, New Horizon Media (NHM).
NHM has been a revelation ever since they entered Tamil Publishing industry in 2004, changing the face of the industry completely. They have tried their trade among the old timers, and were able to encroach much of their forte, at the same time surprising with newer launches every now and then. Like any success story, there are debates over the criticality of their vision, and publishing schedule or choices, but no comics fans would hesitate to see them try out the niche field of Tamil Comics, which long is starving off from a professional approach to the publishing.
After trying with a Short graphical bio of Abdul Kalam, under their Prodigy brand last year, they have now ventured onto a comic brand, which has a traditional foothold dating back to 1967, in the Indian Comics industry, the classic Amar Chitra Katha (ACK).
ACK and its tryst with Tamil audience is not new, as there were a couple of publishers, who had tried their hands on them in the past. Most notably Paico Publishers, who had rebranded the Tamil versions as Poonthalir Amar Chitra Kathai (PACK), and later Dina Malar, a Tamil daily newspaper, which continuously serialized these classics through their weekly supplement, Siruvar Malar.
But, the translations of those times were of old school, going with the trend of those yesteryears. While this time around they have been exclusively translated again by NHM, and are also distributed through primarily through their channels, all through India.
I had bought a couple of titles, from the set of 24 titles, which they have published all through last year, and was impressed with the translation effort which has gone through them, rekindling the rare quality seen in the older times.
The selection of 24 titles, range from Mythology, to Historical Legends, and to Folktales, and they promise a whole bunch of reading experience. There may be few apprehensions over whether ACK can bring back the readership, which has now moved over to much bigger graphic story telling format, but for those who would like their kids to get started through Indian Mythology or History, through the wonderful medium of Comics, this could be a great head start.
Badri from NHM, confirms that they will continue to publish more titles of ACK in Tamil, in the new year 2011, and I for one, only wish that they make them available at a more affordable price range.
One among the possible slow moving factors, as I heard from fellow friends and Comikers, were the price tag of around INR 35, to buy a single comic. I doubt, what leeway NHM could have had in pricing their titles, as ACK’s original English versions get sold for the same asking rate. But considering that NHM can sell through their official site, a handsome discount will not only help it reach maximum fans, but also would push them to collect the entire series.
Some of the titles, in the lineup have been published as far back as March 2010, which makes us question the publishing schedule. There is no official confirmation, on why these titles were held back from distribution for so long, as only after the Chennai Book Fair, we start to see them more regularly on the book stores.
But, now that it has happened, I can see that they are stacked prominently, to catch the shoppers eyesight. Hope more readers would benefit to read their favorite ACK titles, again in a new avatar. After the Book Fair, I managed to get the complete ACK Tamil lot published so far by NHM, about which I would reserve a post in the coming days.
Continue reading our concluding Part of CBF 2011 coverage, where we Discover Vandumama and More…