kiskiKAHANI (the Ramayana Project)

300 Ramayanas and Counting . . .
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Book review: Holy Graphics

Posted on by Imran

Rajashree Gandhi’s review of the much talked about Ramayana: Divine Loophole by Sanjay Patel. Guess who’s the latest to get a drastic makeover? Rama! Yes, Rama, along with the entire crew of characters from the ancient Indian epic Ramayana, have got a graphic makeover, with strong colours, bold angular edges and a rather chic Pixar-esque look in Sanjay Patel’s graphic novel, Ramayana: Divine Loophole, published by Chronicle Books in 2010. The graphics, spread over 184 pages, are accompanied by write-ups of various episodes of the Ramayana. Though Patel doesn’t claim any authorship over the stories or their content, as they are shortened but unchanged versions of the original/traditional Ramayana (if there is a single one), he wants his artwork to do most of the storytelling and they do manage to create an animated film on our retinas. The style is almost linear, yet draws upon Indian folk painting/carving arts. While the colours provide a code to the characters -  all the demons are black, brown and dirty green; Rama is blue, Hanuman is white and quite unusually, Sita is dark brown – the relative sizes of the figures in various scenes denote the power relations between them, be it good over evil, or humility over ego. Interestingly, the design of the palaces of Ayodhya, Mithila and even Lanka, as Patel shows it, seems to have been borrowed from Mughal architecture, and it is a tiny bit shocking to see Dashratha smoking a hukkah. Not only have the graphics got a new avatar, but even the words, phrases, titles, … Continue reading

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