The Classic Popular

The Classic Popular: Amar Chitra Katha, 1967-2007 by Nandini Chandra from Yoda Press. Nandini Chandra teaches English at Hans Raj College, New Delhi.

For all those who grew up in seventies and eighties middleclass India, Amar Chitra Katha, or Ack as it was popularly referred to among friends, was an important influence if not an iconic Cultural Artefact. Published at a time when ack appears to be on the verge of a second lease of life, this compelling new Book draws our attention to the stimulating and troubling potentials of Amar Chitra Katha as is force in modern Indian history. Based on a reading of visual practices and the complicated Art History informing the comics, the book delves into core issues of communalism, history Writing and the ways in which middle-class India negotiates the Consumption of products of popular culture to suit its ideological moorings.

During her Research the author found that the creators of ack amalgamated both local art Traditions as well as a realist Aesthetic Borrowed from the calendar Art-derivative Style of Ravi Varma to produce an evocative yet Sober style, Appropriate for a largely middle-class, Child audience. This was supposedly distant from the "vulgar" Hindi Film posters. Yet in practice it was completely immersed in the techniques of Larger-than-life hyper-representation characteristic of the commercial Hindi film aesthetic. This technique succeeded in furnishing the reader with a visual imaginary of a Mythological Hindu past that could at once blend into a real historical continuum, stretching from the Ancient past to modern India, rendering Myth historical and history mythological.

A provocative and cleverly ar6ueb monograph, this book is a must-read hot only for scholars and students of modern Indian history, contemporary culture and politics, but also for everyone who grew up with, loved or Hated Amar Chitra Katha.

In our History section, Rs. 395, in paperback, xv+243 pages, ISBN: 9782910791582