17 June, 2023

Khagam by Satyajit Ray - #GraphicNovel #Horror #TranslatedWorks


As a Bengali, growing up, Satyajit Ray was unavoidable. Be it Sandesh magazine for kids, or Feluda or Professor Shonku or his movies… Each of us discovered the maestro in our own ways - either through pages or through the screen. For me it was through the pages that Feluda took me on numerous adventures. Then I also discovered Professor Shank and Tarinikhuro. I also watched his movies before delving into his collection of short stories. 

Satyajit Ray is known through out the world because of his works but I still feel that his short stories are really under-rated in comparison. He’s delved into so many topics and genre through them and delivered gems. There were stories that I really didn’t get the first time I read as a kid. But I valued them more in my teens and as an adult. There’s always a point, there’s always that ‘something’ tickles your brain (and sometimes the heart) long after you have put the story down.

Single Shot Publication, along with The Grinning Tree has taken, Khagam, one of the short stories and turned into a graphic novel in English. It is, I think, a great way to reach new audiences and deliver a bit of Satyajit Rays brilliance into new lives. But first, a tiny bit about the story itself…Khagam is a horror story exploring the theme of Metamorphosis through ‘Babu’ who kills a snake with hatred and disrespect in his heart only to suffer its consequence. I remember getting the chills when I read this story for the first time as I went on a roller coaster of a ride with Babu. From hating the protagonist to the fear of transformation to finally pitying him - this short story takes you highs and lows within a couple of pages. But if you look beyond the surface, it is also a story about curiosity, tradition, kindness, arrogance and change. 

Staying true to the original story, the graphic novel delivers on the urgency, gravity and the horror elements of the story with darker shades of graphics. I quiet enjoyed the homage that, Subhabrata Bose, the illustrator has paid to Satyajit Ray through his illustrations. They reminded me of the occasional illustrations done by Satyajit Ray that would feature in the story books and the old covers. 

While I still think that Satyajit Ray’s own words can never be accurately represented in any other form - the graphic novel does justice to the original story. For those who cannot read or understand Bengali, this is certainly a nice way to be introduced to the many worlds that Ray had created in his lifetime.


Complimentary copy received from Penchant for Pinnacle

No comments:

Post a Comment