Remember Captain Haddock’s famous curse, Ten thousand thundering typhoons? Now imagine this in Hindi: Dus hazaar thadthadate toofan. Sounds funny? It’s meant to. Geoges Rémi’s The Adventures of Tintin is soon to be turned into a series of comic strips in Hindi by Om Books International, which has acquired the rights to sell the strips worldwide.
The adventures of the endearing Belgian reporter, his loyal dog Snowy and Captain Haddock have been translated in over 40
languages and sold more than 120 million books and copies to date.
Om Books International has already ordered a print-run of 10,000 copies for all the 24 titles, eight of which will be released in May.
Ajay Mago, CEO, says, “There’s a resurgence of interest in graphic novels, so this was a good time to launch the comic books. Also, I found out that Tintin is a bestseller in English language and the Hindi reader would love to read the branded version of the book. I contacted Casterman publisher in Belgium directly, who has the rights to the book.”
The popular comic strip has had over 40 translations, including languages like Zulu. “I thought it would be interesting to translate it in Hindi too. It took about three and a half years to concretise the plan into action. When we sent them the sample, a team of five people looked into it before they gave us their final nod,” he informs.
With Tintin now quipping ‘Baal ki khal’ instead of ‘Great snakes’, the stories will find a larger readership in a market of which 60 per cent was untapped. Mago was briefed on not to use Hindi comical references: “I know they sound funny. But we’re directly translating it from French and if you go back to the French version, you’d realise that the Hindi is similar to its nuances. Also, it was very important for us to find the local connect.” That’s how Snowy became Natkhat.
Zeroing in on the translator wasn’t an easy job either. “We needed someone who’s totally connected with Tintin. He needed to be a hardcore fan and that’s how we came across Puneet Gupta, who’s an ardent comic collector and writer of children’s stories and science fiction,” says Mago.
Although these new translations have the same paper quality and illustrations, though the blurb will be in Hindi, the price has been cut down to appeal to the readers. Mago informs that he plans to release all the titles before Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the strips beats him to it.
The Adventures of Tintin is a series of comic strips created by the Belgian artist Georges Rémi, who wrote under the pen name of Hergé. The series first appeared in French in Le Petit Vingtième, a children’s supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle on 10 January 1929. The success of the series saw the serialised strips collected into a series of twenty-four albums, spun into a successful magazine and adapted for film and theatre. Set during a largely realistic 20th century, the hero of the series is Tintin, a young Belgian reporter. He is aided in his adventures from the beginning by his dog Snowy.