‘Amar Chitra Katha’ launches a special comic on Jim Corbett to commemorate his 137th birth anniversary.
This year, when Jim Corbett would have turned 137 years, the popular comics brand Amar Chitra Katha (ACK) brought out a special 48-pages pictorial biographical title on the hunter-turned-conservationist who was also an author and a naturalist. However the timing is purely coincidental, insists ACK editor Reena Puri. “Midway through the team was informed of the annual celebration of Corbett’s birthday by our scriptwriter, Tripti Nainwal, who belongs to Nainital. The annual celebration happens at Gurney House. It was sheer coincidence and good luck actually,” she informs.
The editor also says it has nothing to do with any campaign to save tigers nor is it a part of some company’s Corporate Social Responsibility act. It wasn’t easy to put in place Corbett’s complete biography as there are lot of incidents and sub-plots in his life. But the script writer Tripti Nainwal says it was best to do the series “as Jim Corbett’s life progressed.”
The scriptwriter says she first introduces the readers to Nainital, a new town where Jim Corbett was born. “The town was just 30-years-old then. In my second panel I spoke about his parents and then went straight ahead with Jim Corbett as a six-year-old boy,” elaborates Tripti. Tripti picked that age because Jim Corbett got his first gun at the age of six. The ACK team took close to one year for research and putting the frames of Corbett with the right graphic. It has many instances where Corbett got the entire jungle as his ‘playground’. To be educative and informative the script and graphic has details on how Corbett identified pug marks, bird calls, alert calls of animals on spotting a tiger.
In order to make the comic free of factual errors, the script writer has done thorough research and read most of the books written on and by Jim Corbett. “A few of them are Jim Corbett of Kumaon, Carpet Sahib (A life of Jim Corbett), Jungle Lore, Man-Eaters of Kumaon, The Temple Tiger, My India, The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag,” points out Reena.
The illustrator spent close to four months trying to make the illustrations as close to the scenes described in the script as possible and maintain ACK’s mandate of showcasing Indian culture. “First he did the pencilling and once Tripti and I had gone over those and checked them against the script, he could ink them. After that there was a second round of checks for complete accuracy. Like all ACK biographies, this is an effort to present to children an icon or role model who is relevant to them. Conservation is a big word now and most children are taught about it in school. Jim Corbett spoke the language of conservation and had a deep understanding, respect and love for the wild, particularly the tiger, which is what we want to communicate through this comic,” says Reena.