After the successful launch of the first novel Heroes of Wars, a sci-fi version of Mahabharata, VirArt Studios is back with its second novel titled Vidhyadhar and The Universe of Magic. The superhero novel tells us a dynamic tale set in 21st century India, where magical beings like deities, vetals, werewolves, witches, yakshas, naagmanavs, and many other negative elements live amongst humans. A world where centuries of animosity has persisted between the various magical species, which also involved humans.
Animation Xpress got in touch with VirArt Studios founder and author Virat Vilas Pawar to know more about the making of superhero novels with the modern-day twist. A lawyer by profession and artist by heart, Pawar ventured into the world of comics with the passion to create a universe for Indian superheroes. He started VirArt Studios’ to create, give chance to new artists and promote Indian sci-fi and fantasy stories.
On asking what made him step into the magical world of comics, Pawar shared, “I spent my childhood watching sci-fi superhero series and movies. While I watched them I always wanted to create our own Indian superhero universe with characters inspired by Indian mythology. In 2015, I started writing the superhero story series Durdhamya Yodda online and it got appreciation from the readers. Handling job and writing parallelly was a little difficult so I had to stop midway. Again in 2018 I started writing another story, shared it with a few friends and they suggested that I should turn this into a novel and not keep it limited to WordPress. So after one and half years of writing, I finally published my first novel Heroes of Wars in 2019.”
Giving a detailed narration about his latest graphic novel Vidhyadhar and The Universe of Magic which is of 358 pages, Pawar shared, “The protagonist’s name is Arav. Vidyadhara means a person who has the knowledge of supernatural magic, someone who can perform supernatural magic, summon magical creatures, open portals to different worlds, shoot energy beams out of his hands etc. Arav was a student in a Gurukul where the great Guru Sikandar Swami taught magic to the chosen one, that’s how he learnt the use of supernatural magic and the existence of magical beings. His schoolmate Nedarraj (after being thrown out of the school) decides to practice dark magic and wishes to assert dominance over the magical creatures already existing in the world, with one goal, to rule the world better than the existing leaders. Arav’s main aim is to stop him from exploiting the magical creatures and to maintain peace as he is sure Nedarraj can stoop to any level to fulfill his desires. So, Arav takes help from magical creatures, men, divine deities and more in order to maintain the peace in the world.”
Describing the creative process of creating and illustrating the characters, Pawar said, “ All the illustrations are done by Doodlenerve founders Shiladitya Bose and Shubhadeep Roy from Kolkata. They did the illustration for my first novel and have been super supportive since day one. The entire process became easy for me because both of them understood what to do and how to, as soon as I shared the concept and rough ideas with them. It took roughly a year with healthy intervals to finish the project but they are extremely talented guys and hence they did a fantastic job.”
He further added, “My editor Binoy Nair, is responsible for furnishing the manuscript; he has spent hours making my story sound readable. Aafiyat Shaikh – who is an excellent critic, read my chapters several times and found plot holes in them, gave me suggestions, and made sure that there is no room for flaws. As mentioned earlier Doodlenerve did the illustrations till the wee hours and made sure I had a good morning, seeing my thoughts turn into those beautiful illustrations.”
Highlighting how difficult it was to work as an independent author, Pawar recalled, “This novel is the first project where I am working independently. It’s the first of VirArt Studios so definitely I had to face everything that can happen and it was the first time ever to know that such problems exist. From choosing the paper to finding the perfect binder in town was a task but when the entire process got over, it seemed easy, so I am geared to come up with more, and hopefully next time things would be easier.”
The publisher is also planning to adapt their novels into animated or live-action series. An excited Pawar expounded , “That’s the main goal. We wish to turn it into either live action or animated series. The team is all set to do it, just a few logistical hurdles are stopping us, but once we figure that out, we will be set to release the animated series too.”
Revealing the future plans, a hopeful Pawar said, “I have already started penning down my third novel but this is more like an anthology, a story of three superheroes somehow connected to each other. This trio is part of a bigger picture that I am painting and the canvas will be coloured in a span of five to six years. I along with some friends are pitching something to the OTT platforms. We have had a positive response from them so we are at it. Hopefully, 2023 brings some really good and big news.”
Vidhyadhar and The Universe of Magic graphic novel is available on Amazon and the publishers are working on the Kindle version which will be available soon.