Monday, June 04, 2007

Comical Detectives in India

(and I don't mean comical as in funny)

Try as I may, I cannot find any detectives in Indian comics. I mean, some (all?) of the Feluda stories was made into comics, and Fa Fe found his way into animated format via Tinkle, while we have a plethora of crime-fighters. But there are no detectives solely created for comics.

So , I am going to take this opportunity to talk about some crimefighters who don't really make it into a Superhero grade, but are beyond your normal comics-guy-next-door.

  • Bahadur:

    Son of a dacoit, raised by a police officer, Bahadur grew up to be a crime-fighter, with special interest in rehabilitating former dacoits. This he accomplishes with the help of his fiancée (and later wife) Bela, and Lakhan (a reformed dacoit) and his Citizen's Security Force.

    If this sounds a lot like a hindi movie to you, don't worry. Bahadur bears a lot of resemblance to the original angry young man Amitabh Bachchan, as can be seen from his features and his clothes (though he changed from kurta to t-shirt with times).

    While he battles mainly dacoits, he has fought every kind of criminal from common thieves to antiques smugglers to spies and terrorists. In the process, he has done a lot of detective work in uncovering common criminals, finding an ancient treasure in a Rajasthani fort and uncovering the “well of amrit” in a mythical city.

    Of course, if you think the guy who destroys terrorist training camps is not really a detective and hence should not be in this series, hey, I like the guy for being one of the few original comic heroes in India, and I can put him on this list if I want (for lack of any “real” detectives to write about), so sue me...

  • Chacha Chaudhary:
    With a “brain faster than computer” and the help of his Jovian friend Sabu and dog Raacket (sorry, that's how it's written in Hindi), Chacha Choudhary has fought many criminals in his life, the chief of them being the accidently-turned-immortal Raaka. But apart from fighting Raaka, he has spent his life fighting crime in every guise.

    Again, this red turban and black jacket clad, white big moustachioed Chacha is not your traditional detective. But then, even though most of his time is spent thinking of new ways to imprison Raaka (who being immortal and super-strengthened now needs new ways to capture him like a cyclone, a magic bottle in the belly of a whale or orbiting the earth in space), a brain faster than computer cannot be wholly occupied with one single task, can it? Of course, Chacha Choudhary does spend some time in solving your normal crimes too.

    I think I should mention at this point that the TV serial, though having Rajpal Yadav as Chacha didn't fulfil my expectations.

Again, as I said, I didn't find any famous black-sunglasses and trench-coat clad detectives made into comic series, so I took chance of plugging a underrated (according to me) hero I like and everybody's favourite uncle.

Do you have a favourite detective I should have mentioned?

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken...

P.S. Want more on Detectives? Check out my "Jasoos Series".

Quote of The Day:

Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think.

- Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914), The Devil's Dictionary

Also cross-posted at Desicritics.

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Neihal said...

havent heard of Bahadur. But Chacha chaudary used to be one of my fav. and yeah me too was disappointd to see the tv series. Bad.

SiD said...

me too haven't heard of Bahadur.. chacha chaudhry - i downloaded a couple of comics a few days back...:)

as of other comics, there was news that indian comics specially the new ramayana is quite popular in US

Fleiger said...

@Neihal and Sid: Come on... You can't remember Bahadur? The guy who starred in Indrajal Comics with the likes of Phantom, Mandrake and Flash Gordon?

I have seen the "Ramayana Reborn", at least first 7 books released till date. They are... well, interesting, different, but believe me, if they get to India any time soon, people will blow a nuclear bomb...

Princess Stefania said...

What about the hunter guy? Didn't he solve a lot of crimes, albeit by accident?
And isn't Feluda that funny pink drink that they fill with ice cream, jelly, assorted fruit and nuts, things I don't know the proper names of (what do you call the squishy transparent globules that taste like fish eyeballs?), and things I know the names of but can't pronounce?

Fleiger said...

@Princess: What hunter guy?

And you just missed by one vowel. That's "faluda". This is Feluda.

And now that you've mentioned faluda, I need to go get some kulfi :D

Who's your favourite detective?

Princess Stefania said...

Favourite? I don't think I could pick one.
Every single detective that Agatha Christie has used. And every single one that Enid Blyton created.
And then there's Peter Duluth, from the Patrick Quentin series.
The hot Inspecter West dreamed up by John Creasey.
Can you count Perry Mason? Oh gloriosky, him I'd like to get my hands on.
Well, there you go. I'm sure there are tons more.
I love the Adventure series (with Kiki) by Enid Blyton which I'm reading right now.

And you just gave me an idea for a post. Danke.

Fleiger said...

@Princess: All the english detectives coming up after one more post on Indian ones (I haven't covered any female detectives in India, remember?)

Peter Duluth, Inspector West and Glorisky, I haven't heard of. So, if your idea is to write a post about any of them, why not make it into a series, covering each in one post? Maybe we can collaborate the series together.

I haven't read Adventure series that much, but I know what you are talking about.