Thursday, 8 September 2011

Sikh Comic Relief

Comics on Sikh history and a six-part graphic novel on Guru Nanak’s life take a look at the bygone times in a creative way

When Daljeet Singh Sidhu wanted to introduce his three-year-old son to Sikh heroes and history, he was not at a loss of words. But what he did not have, was a story that his boy could see, feel and later read. That’s when it struck Sidhu; that Sikh history has many heroes, but no graphics. So after 12 years in the US, he packed his bags and moved back to India to chronicle Sikh history, its great gurus and warriors and present them in the comics format. That’s how, a Sikh comics project, was born.

“Children in India and abroad are oblivious to our rich heritage. Therefore, the comics appeal to people everywhere. Also, initially our target audience was children but our first two all-colour titles in English have received a great response from adults too,” says city-based Sidhu as he flips through the stories of Baba Deep Singh, the Sikh martyr and scholar.

Scripted by Sidhu, the basis of the stories are books by historians like Bhai Veer Singh, Tirlochan Singh and Satbir Singh. “The facets of Sikh history have to be authentic,” says Sidhu, who hopes to finalise the title in a month, and has planned 20 illustrated titles on history and five volumes in the same format on Guru Nanak. Animation projects based on the comics, and later some fiction are also on the list. “There is a huge demand for translating these into Hindi and Punjabi and we’re looking forward to it,” says Sidhu.

Working over-time on the comics, priced at Rs 150 each, is city-based artist and film-maker Amarjit Virdi and his talented team of illustrators. The team is also the creative brain behind animation films like Chote Sahib Zade, Rise of Khalsa and Maharaja Ranjit Singh. “We realise that the medium of comics and animation films has a huge reach and is an absorbing way to get the point across,” says Virdi, whose team is busy creating characters, their look, expressions and iconography in accordance with every scene, so that the reader can feel the pulse of each situation. “I am an actor with a pencil,” says Virdi, as he gets back to the board for his next comic, The Battle of Saragarhi.

Elsewhere, 27-year-old George Emmanual, a former student of the Government College is working on an exhibition, which will display the making of a graphic novel. “The content may be for children, but what goes behind each illustration is a story in itself. The process of creating comics has changed with technology and I want it to be an interactive and interesting display for both students and young artists,” says Emmanual, who adds that his research for the art work took him to Sikh museums, gurudwaras and exhibitions. Now, Emmanual is busy working on a six-part graphic novel on Guru Nanak’s life. An Indo-Canadian project, it will be released later this month in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Italian.

Parul Bajaj,, Wed Sep 07 2011,


Sikh Comics said...

Thanks for posting this and supporting the Sikh Comics project. we are working hard to put Sikh history in colour comic books and your support is much appreciated. Gurfateh.

Jasmeet Singh said...

I appreciate this nice work. It is a good way to give knowledge to small Sikh children about their Sikh heroes with animated characters and digital prints.

Anonymous said...

Although I acknowledge that a lot of hard work(and Cost) goes into making the comics, but I think SGPC or Sikh Missionery College etc. should bring it to the public at very low cost, so that no one has to think twice before buying them
Sadly a lot of sleaze is available for free but we have to pay for good things :-(

Anonymous said...

**** Sadly a lot of sleaze is available for free on the internet but we have to pay for good things :-(

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