Despite being marred by the — boom and bust cycles, India’s comicbook or more appropriately ‘Chitrakatha’ scene has had a long and varied history and — it is on the rise once again!
Amid the pandemic, there is a fresh wave of graphic novels engulfing the country which, oddly enough, filmmakers are poised to ride. We recently covered the graphic novels written by the likes of TVF founder Arunabh Kumar and India’s noted screenwriter and lyricist Varun Grover.
Filmmaker Shiv Panikker is the latest entrant to adorn the landscape with his new graphic novel titled Gone Case.
Touted as Mumbai’s first graphic novel of the horror genre, Gone Case is a story of a Mumbai-based cop with a dark past who is tasked with escorting an escaped inmate back to the asylum. Along the way, he suspects that the inmate might be a serial killer and the asylum may be haunted.
Panniker is a producer, director and a screenwriter. Having graduated from the New York Film Academy and then moving to Mumbai to start off his career as an assistant director, he quickly started directing commercials and promos which eventually took him to Bangkok. While he was working there, he felt the deep urge to tell a story that he initially penned as a movie-script but later decided to go the graphic novel route.
Speaking about the experience that spurred him on to write Gone Case, he shares: “Personally speaking, I have been a victim of an online debit card theft. It happened when I was in Bangkok. I got a notification on my phone informing me that a large sum of money was withdrawn from my Indian debit card. I was petrified because that was my hard-earned savings that just disappeared in a heartbeat. After the bank’s investigation, I did get my money back. But that feeling of helplessness stuck with me.”
“When I pitched it as a movie and a web-series, I was asked to include a love story or an unnecessary romantic arc which would have made the plot stray from its baseline realism and spirit. I didn’t want to commercialise or tone down my story.”
Elaborating on what made him feel strongly about the plot, he notes: “I started researching debit card theft on YouTube and Google and I was stunned to find out that over 461,000 stolen cards with all their personal information, both debit & credit (worth $130 Million) are being sold on the dark web. What shocked me, even more, is the fact that only two per cent of those cards were Colombian. The rest 98 per cent were Indian. All of this information was being sold on a Dark Web. Why hasn’t it caught the interest of the mainstream media in a big way?”
Alluding to the recent covert operation Fox Hunt 2 that busted a hidden online fraud network which was committing crimes outside the UAE, including cyber fraud, hacking banking fraud and identity theft, he points that it also involved high-profile instagram celebrities like Hushpuppi which proves how deep this dark web goes.
“When I pitched it to various platforms, I was asked to include a love story or an unnecessary romantic arc which would have made the plot stray from its baseline realism and spirit. I didn’t want to commercialise or tone down my story,” he explains.
Gone Case is a story of a Mumbai-based cop with a dark past who is tasked with escorting an escaped inmate back to the asylum. Along the way, he suspects that the inmate might be a serial killer and the asylum may be haunted
Having been a fan of comicbooks since childhood, he finally decided that a graphic book format would be the best platform. Speaking about his love for comics, he shares: “I am a fan of Batman because he has no superpowers and yet he is a superhero. I love both DC and Marvel. In fact, at the age of 30, I continue to pore over comicbooks avidly. My room is full of action figures ranging from Batman to Superman to Spiderman and more”
Releasing today, Gone Case is written by Panikker, illustrated by Karan Danda and coloured by Warrens Rojas. It is available to buy in paperback and Kindle on Amazon and Flipkart.