ACK Media’s newest release is the first of a seven-volume graphic series based on Valmiki’s Ramayana. Bala Kand , which will be available in bookstores shortly, looks at even the smaller details and stories of the epic.
Inspired by requests from readers after Amar Chitra Katha published its 42-volume Mahabharata series, The Ramayana began to take shape more than a year-and-a-half ago. “The Ramayana has so many stories on the side. And our original book is an abridged version in which all these stories had to be cut out. This series will have everything in detail,” says Reena Puri, editor, ACK Media.
Staying true to the original, the series will have seven volumes, one for each Kand that Valmiki wrote. “Each book will be about 135 to 150 pages. While the format will be our usual style, the graphic novel uses semi-realistic drawings and is more contemporary than traditional,” she says. “It took us quite some time to get the first book out because we had to check the original story, get our facts right, choose what drawings to use and so on. We hope to release the rest of the books in another year-and-a-half.”
For all ages
While the graphic novel is targeted at those between the ages 10 and 15, Reena says that the book is, in its entirety, for people of all ages. “We have readers who are in their 80s as well. In fact, the people who wrote in requesting this series were all in their 20s and 30s,” she adds. “We’re also going across various platforms (such as iPad app) to attract younger readers. We must present our content in a way that attracts readers from all spheres.”
How will ACK Media be different from other comics and individuals churning out interpretations on Hindu mythology? “ACK has always been about presenting myths in their purest form. We take the stories from Valmiki’s version with no change in the details. But I guess interpretations are what keep myths alive. I hope we will be able to interpret mythology —maybe not write it, but take it from others such as sages and philosophers who have written their versions of the stories,” says Reena.
Apart from The Ramayana series, the media house will also be releasing comics on biographies, history and mythology.