Monday, May 22, 2006

Mere paas Supremo hai!

The other day we unearthed a huge pile of old Indrajal Comics at a raddiwala and hidden among them was an Amitabh Bachchan comic! I had seen some of them when we were kids and didn’t think much of them then, but laying our hands on one of them now – in our crazed-collectors avatar – has been thrilling!

For those who came in late, some bright soul came up with an idea of developing a comic book series about Amitabh as a superhero called 'Supremo' back in the ’80s, wanting to cash on his popularity and perhaps his illness. Unlike AB himself, the series (published by IBH and written by one Pammi Bakshi) didn’t have a very long innings. Poor Gulzar (yes, the Gulzar) was the ‘Script Consultant’!

Now about the comic itself: the issue I have is called Supremo and the Dacoit Queen. The story is a sort of Balaji-meets-Chambal-saga. Amitabh just happens to be shooting with Manmohan Desai in the vicinity of the Chambal and saves the day by donning his Supremo avatar! The comic is quite sexist, with a Dacoit Queen who has a ‘fixation’ for kidnapping little kids and is ‘demented’. Her husband and child were killed by the Zamindar, which is when the poor woman lost it. So she now drugs kids and imprisons them in a cave. Till one solid whack on the head from falling on a rock – thanks to Supremo – makes her sane again! Pointedly, she is called Malan Devi.

The illustrations are not very great (the standard Bahadur kind of drawings). But what takes the cake is Supremo’s costume. Conventional superhero couture of undies-over-tights has been avoided, and Supremo has a piece of brown cloth draped coyly around his waist, held there by a hip-holster. What is thrilling though is the fact that everywhere Amitabh’s face is drawn in these frozen, movie-poster kind of expressions, as if it was copied from various photos and stills. Very sweetly, the issue also has a letter from Amitabh to the kids thanking them for their support during his illness.

Bad stories and execution, perhaps, but such quaint old-times sort of fun! And we are not complaining, after all it is a collector’s item! (Read the update on this one!!!)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

From the trenches

Writing this from a room clouded with the nasty, sharp reek of primer fumes. Horrible it is. To top it all, our painter is a zealous old man, determined to go that extra mile for us, while we keep trying to curb his enthusiasm and make him do less! He's disgusted with our lack of moral fibre and tenacity, and at our protestations. It's hot, it's stinky and there's that ghastly persistent cement dust all over the place... no amount of washing your feet can rid you of it. It follows you, unseen but felt, like a family curse.
Nayana is most disturbed by it all. We kept her at mom's for two days and when she came back, she looked up at the dark grey cement blotches on the wall and said, "Wot happen? Who bwoken nayanu house?" She informed us then that she was 'skaid' of it all. We're camping at our neighbour's place and it's confused the heck out of her!
Oh, and in a fit of pique, I went all Jean d'Arc and chopped my hair off in front of the mirror above the washbasin. I'm sure I shocked the primer-applying painter (not the oldie) in the kitchen out of one year of his life at least!