Bakarmax announced the launch of its new webcomic called Karejwa, written by Varun Grover, and illustrated by Ankit Kapoor set to release on 26 June 2020. Bakarmax founder Sumit Kumar has edited Karejwa. His other two graphic novels as an author are The Itch You Can’t Scratch and Amar Bari Tomar Bari Naxalbari.
Grover is a standup comic, poet, screenwriter and lyricist. A National Film Awards winner, he has written the lyrics for Gangs of Wasseypur, Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Sonchiriya, and Fan. As a screenwriter he has worked on Cannes-winning Masaan and Netflix show Sacred Games. He is the author of two books – short story collection Paper Chor and graphic novel Biksu.
“I am kinda obsessed with the apocalypse and dystopia genre. A story about death and destruction doesn’t find a place in our children’s literature but thanks to the open mindedness of Sushil Shukla and Shashi Sablok, the editors of children’s magazine Chakmak, I attempted writing an apocalyptic tale, weaving in my love for Banaras (Varanasi) and its food into it,” mentioned Grover.
Kumar read the story and suggested it can be turned into a graphic novel. He also brought on board, Kapoor who translated the vision on paper, spending a year of his time creating the beautiful world and characters.
Karejwa is a story of a boy named Pintu who wishes to eat the last Gulabjamun of his life before an Asteroid hits the earth. Karejwa was originally written and published in children magazine Chakmak in 2015 and now it has been adapted as a webcomic.
Karejwa illustrator Kapoor is also an animator and is currently based in Chandigarh. After graduating from Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology (Bangalore), he did advertising for Netflix India at The Glitch (creative agency) as a motion graphics designer. He currently freelances on Illustration and animation projects from Chandigarh. This is the first major long-form comic he has worked on.
Kapoor was interning with Bakarmax in 2017, when Kumar introduced him to the story and he was instantly drawn to it – a grand apocalyptic thriller set in Varanasi. The team got the rights to an official adaptation and started working on it on and off for almost two years. Talking about the new project, Kapoor said, “I finally started drawing it full-time in the beginning of 2020 after leaving my day job. The final artwork was completed over the last few months as the lockdown actually proved instrumental in helping me work on it with undivided focus. I would like to thank Varun and Sumit for trusting me with this precious story. I hope the readers enjoy it.”
Kumar had spoofed Grover’’s film Masan in Bakarmax, and called it Lassan. “Varun liked one of our comics, Char Ram, and suggested we see his stories on his blog. We read and loved Karejwa. But the secret sauce was still missing – which we found in the form of Ankit Kapoor. Ankit is a magician with colors. He can bring worlds to life. What he has done with Karejwa will inspire a new generation of graphic novelists to aim at something bigger, something grand,” Kumar concluded.
It’s been a long journey for Karejwa and Grover is grateful to Kapoor and Kumar for looking at black text on white paper and deciding to bring colors, geometry, and abstract to it. And we hope to feel the same and enjoy the webcomic as much as this trio did creating it.
Bakarmax’s webcomic and YouTube shorts have gained popularity and accolades everywhere. It’s always a treat to watch or read something from this animation and comic studio.