‘Amar Dekha Noyachin’ and evolving graphic novel culture in Bangladesh

‘Amar Dekha Noyachin’ and evolving graphic novel culture in Bangladesh

On February 17, CRI arranged a discussion titled ‘Amar Bhashay Graphic Novel’ centered around its newly published graphic novel ‘Amar Dekha Noyachin’ and the evolving graphic novel culture in Bangladesh. The discussion featured some of the finest creative minds in the country, including the artist and editor of the graphic novel. The event was held at the Bangla Academy premises.

Among the discussants were the artist and illustrator of ‘Amar Dekha Noyachin’ Sabyasachi Mistry; editor and curator Shibu Kumar Shill; cartoonist and editor of Unmad magazine Ahsan Habib; filmmaker Piplu R Khan; and vocalist of Cryptic Fate and book reviewer Shakib Chowdhury. Publisher of Pendulum Books’ Rumman Tashfique moderated the discussion.

The speakers discussed the readership, potential, and popularity of graphic novels in Bengali. In their opinion, comic books and graphic novels can be a great medium to teach young people about the history of the country.

Legendary cartoonist Ahsan Habib said, “When we were children, we used to draw papaya, banana, and mango in drawing classes. Now kids draw comics. It’s a big improvement.”

Vocalist of Cryptic Fate Shakib Chowdhury is an avid comics reader. He has a podcast about comics and graphic novels. He said, “The simplicity of Sheikh Mujib’s life outside of his political career was portrayed perfectly in both the Mujib comics and Amar Dekha Noyachin.”

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Speaking about the experience of illustrating this book, Sabyasachi Mistry said, “It wasn’t an easy journey to portray the backdrop of that timeframe. A lot of information about the buildings, cars, etc. in China during that time wasn’t available anywhere, so we had to do a lot of digging. Drawing the characters was also a challenge, as we couldn’t find pictures of Bangbandhu’s travel mates.”

Filmmaker and director of docu-film ‘Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale,’ Piplu R Khan thinks that the dynamics of the original book were perfectly carried into the graphic novel.

Shibu Kumar Shill said, “CRI is trying to carry on the legacy of what people like Ahsan Habib started. It always welcomes new initiatives about the history, culture, and identity of Bangladesh, be it historical figures or folk literature like Mymensignh Geetika.”

At the end of the discussion, the speakers and guests visited the stalls of CRi at the Ekushey Book Fair.

CRI’s biggest attraction at the book fair this year is the graphic novel ‘Amar Dekha Noyachin’. After the inauguration of the book fair, the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled the cover of this book at the CRI stall. CRI’s Trustee Radwan Mujeeb Siddique is the publisher of this graphic novel, and the illustrations are by Sabyasachi Mistry. Siddique Ahmed worked on its story layout and dialogues, and project curation and editing were done by Shibu Kumar Shill. The book is available at CRI’s stall numbers 29–30 and 778–779 at the Amor Ekushey Book Fair.