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City cops in graphic novel

books Updated: Nov 21, 2010 15:58 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times
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Shimit Amin’s Ab Tak Chhappan (2004) that featured Nana Patekar as a gun-trotting top cop was reportedly inspired by the real-life escapades of encounter specialist Daya Naik. Now, a graphic novel series on Mumbai’s ‘original bad boys’, revolving around themes of power, corruption and redemption is set to hit stands in the summer of 2011. Titled Mumbai Confidential, the series will follow the day-to-day lives of Mumbai’s encounter specialists.

“The point is to tell a good story. The setting and plot is a love song to a genre of movies I love dearly – Satya, Ab Tak Chhappan,” says Saurav Mohapatra, comic book writer. The works in the book are fictional and the stories/characters are not factual. However, some plot and elements are inspired by real-life events. Mohapatra says, “I read news clips and articles if I need something specific. Also, the Wikipedia and Google combo is great while writing.”

Mohapatra says the reason he decided to pen these novels was to give his take on the complex society we presently live in. Mohapatra says, “Societal norms draw lines in our lives asking us to walk on a particular side and to avoid whatever is on the other side. But encounter cops seem to straddle that line. As the saying goes, ‘Who watches the watchmen?’

He adds that along with the cops and their macho images, care has been taken to ensure that the supporting characters and the villains also pack a punch. Mohapatra says, “I love creating zany supporting characters and bad guys/villains are my favourite. Every story I’ve enjoyed has had a smashing antagonist, so for me having a good bad guy is very important.”

Mumbai Confidential is classic crime noir updated to present day Mumbai with lots of gray characters, dark alleys, macho men with guns, monsoon– the works. The art by Vivek is rendered in gray wash painted style. Old Hindi movie posters, pulp crime book covers etc were used for inspiration to strike the correct balance between the classic pulpy hardboiled-ness. Mohapatra adds, “The book is a potboiler. It’s by no means a scholarly piece or a non-fiction book. After all, it’s masala comics.” Ask him if the book might offend anyone especially cops and their families, post 26/11 and he says, “It’s about as likely to offend anyone as say a pulp crime story.” The first installment, Good Cop, Bad Cop, will be out in summer 2011.

Mumbai Confidential

The plot:
The first installment of the Mumbai Confidential series is titled Good Cop, Bad Cop and is about the encounter specialists of Mumbai police, who were given the nod by the establishment to carry out extra-judicial killings of gangsters. What happens next?