Now read Ruskin Bond’s The Blue Umbrella and The Angry River in a comic book published by Amar Chitra Katha

Ruskin Bond’s stories are inextricably linked with childhood memories of those who grew up reading his books. Even though it has been 30 years since his earlier works The Blue Umbrella and The Angry River were published, the stories of Bindiya and Sita continue to charm children. They are resourceful child protagonists who bravely overcome adversity.

Amar Chitra Katha now introduces these stories in a comic book form, published under Contemporary Classics, Amar Chitra Katha’s sixth category, the other five being Mythology, Bravehearts, Folktales and Fables and Ancient Classics.

The 32-page comic book was launched last week at Landmark. Samhita Arni, author of The Mahabharata — A Child’s View and Sita’s Ramayana, a graphic novel, released the book with Reena Puri, editor of Amar Chitra Katha. The launch was made more interesting by artist Rakesh’s sketching of a life-like replica of Shiva and an interactive Indian mythology quiz.

Ruskin Bond was unable to attend the event as he was away in Delhi to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. But he sent a congratulatory message to “the talented artists and scriptwriters at Amar Chitra Katha for making my books so attractive in comic book form. Both The Umbrella and Angry River are among my early books written specially for children and their popularity has increased over the years. When The Blue Umbrella was published in USA, it was named Book of the Month by the Parenting Magazine. Recently, it was made into a wonderful film by Vishal Bharadwaj and now here it is a new avatar.”

Samhita Arni said a graphic novel is a process, for which a talented team is required. Nimmy Chacko, scriptwriter for The Blue Umbrella, spoke on the challenges of turning Ruskin Bond’s rich stories into a comic book. “Turning a mythological story into a comic is easy as you retain the story and you are free to illustrate it as you wish. When you work with Ruskin Bond’s stories, however, the style is as important as the story itself.”

The team who worked on Ruskin Bond’s works visited him at his house in Kasauli. “Both The Blue Umbrella and The Angry River were written in the 1970s. When I asked Ruskin Bond the inspirations behind the stories, he said Bindiya, the protagonist of The Blue Umbrella was inspired by Bindiya, a little girl, who he knew and who lived down the road. The Angry River is based on a devastating flood that occurred many years ago in North-Western India. I admire the way Ruskin Bond’s captures his surroundings, the people he meets, flora and the fauna of the hills so well in his works,” Nimmy said.

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