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On her own terms

SRAVASTI DATTA
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Chat Following the launch of her first book, Miaow, Alankrita Jain speaks of her ambition to publish a comic book

The write way Akankrita Jain Photo: Sampath Kumar G. P.
The write way Akankrita Jain Photo: Sampath Kumar G. P.

Y ou might think a black cat crossing your path is unlucky, but for 20-year-old Alankrita Jain it proved to be fortunate. “One day, a black cat crossed my path while I was walking to college. Mom always told me black cats are unlucky, so it set off a thought process. I thought I'd write something on it. As I wrote, the lines rhymed and it emerged as poetry. I did some illustrations to add to the poem. This happened three years ago,” says Alankrita who is pursuing a course in animation.

Secret of success

Alankrita approached Tulika who immediately agreed to publish it, with slight changes. The book Miaow (Tulika, Rs. 95), launched recently, has since been translated into nine different languages — Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Hindi, Bengali and other regional ones. Alankrita puts her success on luck. “It's wonderful to see my name in a book. It's something big for me, considering I'm only 20!”

Alankrita's talent for drawing was discovered by her mother when she was a child.

“I used to draw on tissue paper, scraps of paper, whatever I could get my hands on. I like sketching caricatures, and concentrated on big noses and small eyes. My mother kept all my cartoons. I'm so grateful she did.”

A fan of Roald Dahl, Alankrita is inspired by Quentin Blake, a British illustrator. “I've been a fan of Quentin's work for a long time. I also admire Tim Burton, the American director. He experiments with colour and shape. I like his use of spirals. I employ it in my work too.”

Though Alankrita says her career plans change every year, she's certain that someday she'll publish a comic book. “I'm working on it with a friend who can print comic books.”

As for animation, she laments that creativity isn't the industry's strongest point.

“It's boring to copy animation styles. Concepts are outsourced from France and Germany, which animators are expected to incorporate in their work. I want to create concepts. I don't want to sit in front of a computer and copy-paste.”

She says that publishing houses such as Tulika encourage young talent and fresh ideas.

“It's time people recognised that the youth has something substantial to say.”

SRAVASTI DATTA

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