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30 years later Bahadur returns

Aabid Surti’s comic creation will soon be available to read online.

books Updated: Mar 14, 2010 14:23 IST
Serena Menon
Serena Menon
Hindustan Times

India’s first neighbourhood comic book super hero is returning to the crime scene. Indrajal comics’ product Bahadur, that was first launched in 1976, will soon be available in a new avatar; and that too, on the Internet. The comic, that is being produced in a new and updated 21st century graphic style, will have vibrant colours and designs, unlike its older counterpart. Its language is being made to suit the target readers from the current generation.

The short and long story
The lead character, Bahadur, was created by Aabid Surti and illustrated by the late Govind Brahmania, way back in the 1970s when the comic was sold for one rupee. Unfortunately, around the 1980’s, when Indrajal comics shut shop in India, Bahadur’s popularity and tales of valour were lost with it.

“Apart from India, there’s a huge fan club of Bahadur, abroad. I’ve seen these comics being sold as collector’s items for $100 in some places as well,” said Pramod Brahmania, Govind Brahmania’s son, who has taken over the responsibility of bringing out the new version.

He continued, “The copyright was handed over to Surtiji when Indrajal shut down. It has been with him ever since. So I asked him if he wanted to bring Bahadur back. And we did!”

Written with a twist to the original storyline in the 1970s, Aabid Surti claims that the comic will always retain its charm, irrespective of its new content. “This comic is almost historic now. It could have become India’s first superhero comic,” said Surti, who has lost count of how many series he has written.

He added, “The first few comics of the new series will have some background material for the new readers. The old versions were based in the 1970s, when many villages in the interiors of India faced a serious threat from dacoits. Today, that has changed. So we’ve changed that element too. Now, we have to deal with terrorism. So, instead of dacoits, we have made terrorists our villains.”

Comic cinema
Though Surti is open to turning the concept into a movie, he makes it clear that, what ever happens, the copyright of Bahadur will stay with him. “Anurag Kashyap desperately wanted to make it into a film. He had tied up with Fish Eye productions to figure out a deal. He tried a lot, but the budget wasn’t feasible,” said Surti, who’s convinced that if the film is made well, it could be India’s answer to Spiderman or Superman.

He elaborated, “The moral behind the stories of Bahadur at that time was that villagers shouldn’t rely on the police completely, because there used to be one police station for 100 villages. Bahadur thus leads the Citizen Security Force and helps them become independent and trains them to protect themselves.”

The website — www.bahadur.co.in — which the readers can visit by the end of the month, will have first time readers to browse through the first five pages of each comic for free. After which, a nominal charge shall be levied.