Story : Saurav Mohapatra
Art : Vivek Shinde
The monsoons come out in full strength.
Clouds rumble in skies casting the city in the shades of grey.
Its raining in the Mumbai of Mumbai Confidential too, and the many shades of grey are captured in every page, every panel.
The story begins at an unexpected turn, close to the end. Or perhaps it is just ‘an’ end. One of many possible ones in this story. In the beginning I was not too impressed, the initial flow of Good Cop-Bad Cop is erratic and the narration a little too heavy handed. Not to mention confusing. But you get used to it. The art is good, really good and will keep you hooked long enough for you to get used to it. And once you get used to it, then this story really opens up.
In the second issue, the narration grows bolder, and finds its ground. The flow really begins to pick up. You will get caught up in this story. I can assure you of this. Its just a matter of when. And the pulp roots of the story begin to grow on you, suddenly the writing doesn’t seem so heavy
handed any more. This is a story with so many possibilities, so many potentials. It unfolds gorgeously. It is almost a movie disguised as a comic book buried within which lies hidden a work of art. And I for one cannot wait for more. The noir stylings fit very well into the gritty story of the Mumbai Underworld. And although there are a few tasteful fade to blacks the art is unapologetic and vivid through it all. Mumbai Confidential comes out from an opium dream and seeps in your blood with a fever rush. Sweeping you up in its wake.
Now this grim and gritty tale is poised to be that rarest of rare gems, an Indian created and produced comic that’s picked up and published by an international publisher – in this case Archaia comics are in the process of putting out a new edition of this for the international market.
This book is a wonderful moment for Indian Comic books. This is wonderful news for the Indian Comic Industry. An industry where artists and writers make chump change, an industry so nascent that the best of Indian Comics don’t even warrant a slot next to the cash register in most big book stores. An industry where talent, real talent with the potential to create amazing works of art ups and quits the business every day because its too damn hard to pay the bills. This is wonderful news because this is a reaffirmation of the faith every single broke artist and jobless writer carry within their hearts when they carry on making their book despite the fact that they haven’t earned a penny off it, and they never will. It is an acknowledgement of the fact that no matter how many Ek Tha Tiger comics come out backed by big money and no matter how much cash gets poured into the comic adaptations of Ra One, there are still people around us with a proper story to tell who remember how to tell it.
Anurag Kashyap should be sent a complimentary copy in lieu of his recent comments regarding the Comic book industry. As an outsider it has been especially easy for him to comment with flippant disregard for what bubbles underneath. He sees what appears in front of him and ignores everything else. Forgetting perhaps in his myopia the time it took for himself to get his big break in cinescope. Forgetting perhaps his own glorious days of struggle. Forgetting perhaps the simple economics of it all, that if you have to be heard in this country you need the money. Forgetting that there are a hundred thousand different stories brewing and grumbling beneath our thin crusted smiles. Forgetting, that if you want real blood, sweat and tears Mister Kashyap, then you will have to scratch a little deeper than the surface. Unfortunately it is the surface that has glamoured him and many others like him. Thus creating the opinion that the Indian Comic Book industry is but a cheap imitation of our western peers.
An opinion he will surely reconsider if he ever read this book. We need more many more comics like this coming out. And we need ‘em fast. The writing is top notch (even if a little heavy handed), the artwork is gorgeous, the production is top notch. Which of course raises new questions for the Indian artist and the Indian writer. Will this open new pathways for writers/artists looking for international projects? Perhaps in time indeed it will be so. After all in all respects this is a book worthy of the international market. So of course it is absolutely perfect for the domestic market.
Buy it now. Read it now. Enjoy it now.
Andy is a voracious reader and comic book nerd whose passion for squiggly things inside bubbles on top of cartoons was kindled when he was but a wee lad. Since then he has tried unsuccessfully to become an artist himself and now pretends to be an artist. He has some talent for the written script and he can be found greatly exaggerating and misusing this talent to woo hapless women on street corners who might fall for bad poetry.
That aside he’s not a bad sort of fellow.