Iconic comic strip Kapish makes a comeback riding a wave of nostalgia

The scheming but foolish Sigal (jackal) and Peelu, the naive Mottu (rabbit), the adorable Babucha (bear),the menacing Doppaiyya (hunter) were all characters that propped up the lore of Kapish and became part of the childhood across many generations.

August 17, 2023 06:31 pm | Updated 08:24 pm IST - KOCHI

The Book cover of  Paico which will bring back the iconic cartoon monkey character Kapish after a gap of almost two decades this Onam.

The Book cover of Paico which will bring back the iconic cartoon monkey character Kapish after a gap of almost two decades this Onam.

The iconic comic strip Kapish, the clever monkey who walked into the hearts of thousands of children with its magical tail that can be extended at will and did many a heroic act with it to rescue his friends, has now made a comeback more than two decades after it had vanished from the print.

The scheming but foolish Sigal (jackal) and Peelu, the naive Mottu (rabbit), the adorable Babucha (bear),the menacing Doppaiyya (hunter) were all characters that propped up the lore of Kapish and became part of the childhood across many generations.

While in its previous avatar, Kapish was one among the many comic strips in children’s periodicals, now it commands a book of its own printed in glossy papers. The first issue already in the stands of selected outlets features 13 old Kapish stories, which have been reproduced, and a new story with new drawings. Mohandas M, the Irinjalakuda-based illustrator who had originally drawn the character in the 70s, has come up with the new sketches as well.

“We launched Paico Illustrated World Classics one-and-a-half-year ago. They have evoked very good response and that left us thinking about what next. That is when Kapish came to our mind,” said Ajai Pai, the publisher of the Pai Publishers and Distributors.

It emerged that the late Anant Pai, the founder of the Mumbai-based Rangarekha Features, which had owned the copyright of Kapish had given it to a Hyderabad-based animation company. Mr. Ajai Pai negotiated with the company and bought back the rights for the Malayalam version of the comic strip a couple of months back. Mr. Mohandas was also brought aboard shortly thereafter.

“Kapish is very much associated with nostalgia for not just its readers for years but also for me. I am happy to associate with the comic strip after a long gap of 20 years. I will have to draw fresh sketches for new stories once the 250-odd old stories are exhausted,” he said.

Initially, Kapish was part of the children’s periodical Poombatta from the late 70s till the publication downed shutters in 1989. This followed a break of a few years after which it started appearing in a similar periodical Balarama till around 2001.

During its glory days, the legendary author Vaikom Muhammad Basheer had written to Poombatta praising the acceptance of Kapish. In his customary humorous style, he said that ‘comrade’ Kapish would win hands down if he were to contest the Parliament elections.

The new issue also features four stories of Ramu Shyamu, another popular comic strip from the yesteryear. “Originally, we planned to publish it quarterly. But going by the huge response, it seems like we may have to increase the frequency to bi-monthly at least,” said Ajai Pai. The new Kapish stories will be created by Luis Fernandes, former editor of Tinkle Comics.

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