Shamik Dasgupta on the launch of Rakshak 3 and 4 and what to expect in ‘The Village’

Shamik Dasgupta
Its releases galore at Yali Dream Creations, as the third as well as the fourth part of the popular series Rakshak have hit the stands simultaneously. Writer Shamik Dasgupta continues the desi vigilante’s saga and his quest against injustice. However this time around, the Rakshak isn’t all alone. There are new crusaders in town to aid and abet the former in his noble cause. For instance, Deven Pandey aka Hammer, is a poor blacksmith who doesn’t let his straitened circumstances keep him from standing against injustice, especially when he’s pushed too far by the hafta-wasooli gang. A compilation of four different stories, the third instalment of Rakshak also chronicles around the stories of two pre-existent characters, Saina (Aditya Shergill/Rakshak’s niece) and Manav Khurana, son of billionaire Yashvardhan Khurana of OK Industries and self-proclaimed vigilante, Rakshak 2.0. The fourth story ‘Pondus’, is about Swati Jangra, an ex- weightlifter and bodybuilder who falls victim to the nefarious plans of a gang of women extortionists. Swati suffers terrible loss at the hands of these extortionists and is coaxed to cross the line and exact bloody revenge on them with the help of a mysterious benefactor. “The story of Pondus portrays a certain aspect of our social evils which is barely ever explored” says Dasgupta. The adventures of the “most realistic superhero done in India” culminates in the fourth edition of Rakshak, where he’ll also have certain tough choices to make and also ask a pertinent question  – How far are we willing to go in the name of justice? “Rakshak the character is a spawn of real world problems and the issues we face in modern India. There is very little make-belief elements in the series, it deals with real issues and real problems we face as a society and as an individual” he further added. Both the new releases have met with rave responses from the fans, as Dasgupta can’t help but beam when he says, “The response has been very good! People have come to love Aditya Shergill (Rakshak) as a character because he feels real and addresses real issues.” However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s more to its success. He says, “He can even be your neighbour, he can be you yourself. This feeling of identity is making Rakshak gradually popular among the audience. We have not resorted to any cheap gimmicks, neither our hero is any way related to any mythological elements/origins which are rampant among Indian comics and animation. He is the real deal.” So whilst you deliberate about Rakshak and his latest in the series of escapades, there’s something sinister brewing in the rural areas of the country, as The Village would depict. Emphasising on the antediluvian, medieval malpractices of casteism, subjugation of dalits and the tribes that still exist in the most inconspicuous corners of the country, The Village is one of those rare comics that address social issues that gnaw the country. Without divulging much about it, Dasgupta sums up the premise of it. He says, “This story is a cautionary tale against these malpractices. It is also a study of human nature, how situations turn a man into something lesser than himself, forcing his primal nature to reveal itself, and the true darkness of our souls are revealed.” What new can the fans look forward to in the comic? “This is a totally new kind of horror story that we have explored in The Village, and we have termed this genre as social horror. If you are looking forward to something new, refreshing and relevant and not rehashes of ghosts, vampires, werewolves and demons, this is the book for you.” Though replete with action and serpentine twists, Dasgupta warns its readers about expecting something mainstream. He says, “People will expect the story to be a spooky abandoned village and ghosts haunting our protagonists, they have no idea what we have in store for them.”