Saurav Mohapatra - comic book writer

author, artist and bona fide geek

Month: December 2009

The AVATAR Experience

“Dude, I ain’t watching DANCES WITH THE SMURFS 3D!”

AVATARThat was the reaction of a co-worker when I told him that James Cameron‘s AVATAR blew me away. He’s got a point there, while completely missing the point of the movie. AVATAR has a by the numbers / cookie cutter story similar to the New World or Dances with the wolves. But I think that is by design. The real star of the movie is the graphics — mindblowing graphics. Yet it could have become a soulless/senseless paen to imagery a la CITY OF LOST CHILDREN or MIRRORMASK, but AVATAR as a story has heart — lots of it. The cliches and tropes are salvaged by the smooth and seamless integration of the gorgeously imagined and rendered Alien landscapes (which are IMPORTANT and RELEVANT to the story/plot). It is realistic without crashing down into Uncanny Valley and balances the realism of simulation with appropriate does of suspension of disbelief and in some cases even sensory stimuli.

FUTURE IS WILDAVATAR reminded me of two most excellent Discovery channel documentaries titled FUTURE IS WILD and ALIEN PLANET I had seen earlier.

FUTURE IS WILD is an extrapolation of evolution on planet earth millions of years into the future and ALIEN PLANET is the imagined story of ALIEN PLANETthe first unmanned mission traversing space in search of extraterrestrial life (and finding it). Both were made with budgets that probably would not even render half a dozen giant mushrooms in the world of PANDORA. :) But they share a bond with Cameron’s AVATAR in being utterly imaginative about what alien flora and fauna (and even terrestrial ones in the future) may look like. While AVATAR has the luxury of dramatic hyperbole and poetic license, it uses them to build a vibrant vista rather than squander it on meaningless visual non sequitors.

To those few who are still debating whether or not to see AVATAR, my advice would be to go see it immediately (preferably in IMAX/3D). This might be something that’ll help you score some coolness cred with your grandchild when (s)he’s twiddling away on a full 3D holographic handheld with full haptic / synaptic interface powered by the latest Quantum computing chip.

“Y’know back in my day, we did it all with Mo-Cap and 280 mil dollars!” :)

Yup, it’s that kind of a landmark in motion picture history.

AVATAR HD Extended Trailer



FUTURE IS WILD



ALIEN PLANET



Mumbai Confidential Chapter 1 Preview posted online

Mumbai ConfidentialChristmas came early this year. :) As promised, we are posting a preview of Chapter 1 of Mumbai Confidential Book 1Good Cop, Bad Cop“.

NOTE: The preview requires Flash and on low b/w connections might take a bit of time to load

So we’ll be back in Jan with new exploration and never before seen concept art and some other goodies. The MC Team has always valued our fans and community and this is our christmas gift to you. :)

If you want to link to it :

http://www.mumbaiconfidential.com/preview/previewchapter-1/.

Also we’re on TWITTER and FACEBOOK too, so drop us a ping if you feel like it.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

About Mumbai Confidential

Mumbai Confidential is a crime noir comic book series created by writer Saurav Mohapatra (DEVI, SADHU, MUMBAI MACGUFFIN, INDIA AUTHENTIC, JIMMY ZHINGCHAK) and artist Vivek Shinde (PROJECT: KALKI, SNAKEWOMAN) set in (of course!) the Indian city of Mumbai.

Trolling on GreatBong’s site – an interesting social experiment

Damn! This $shit is addictive. I’m trolling on GreatBong’s site posting as Jimmy Zhingchak. Basically I’m just copying pasting from Rediff.net postings on the review of Three Idiots that GB has put up pretending to be someone who speaks exclusively in SMS-es (“Lyf lyk gud” and all that).

Man, people do take the anonymity of the web way too seriously. The comments started as snide and gradually decayed into plain old assault and battery. I’ll just keep at it till I get bored. :)

Maybe there’s a column in this somewhere :)

[UPDATE: Obviously, I’m doing this with GB’s knowledge and with a fail-safe button he can press for me to stop anytime he wants.]

[UPDATE2: (11:44 EST) – now the abuses have turned personal and really bite-y. ]

[UPDATE-3 (11:49 EST) — now trying a direct confrontation route ]

[UPDATE – 4 (11:53 EST) — okay, now I’m officially bored. The funny thing was this post showed up as a trackback/ping on the thread I was trolling and every post I had made was linked back to this website. Still, I guess cyber cojones give steroid rampage level meanness to people (especially with all the anonymity). Halting social experiment. Will proceed if there are any other responses.

My favorite part was posting a completely out of context Sachin Tendulkar career stat :D

So the interactive part of this experiment ends here. Thanks GB for being such a sport and allowing me to post/troll on that thread :)

Now I’m pretty sure, there’ll be responses to my earlier trolling posts even after I explained that I was trolling in this post.

Jimmy Zhingchak on Wikipedia

Jimmy ZhingchakHa! saw this during a wikipedia browsing session. Kinda made my day! :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Zhingchak_(comics).

JZ was a real blast to write. I have fond memories of writing it. The character of Bhappi-da, the last of the DISCO gods is hands down my favorite ever, closely followed by Fukku Bhai from Mumbai Macguffin. Last I heard (from semi-realiable sources) UTV was making a movie out of it. Wonders of work-for-hire! I’m not involved in that. :( But will go watch the movie when (and if) it gets made.

Aieeee Saaalaaa!

Oh! and I used to maintain a kind of scrapbook of Zhingchak sightings on the wild wild web. You can find it here.

About Jimmy Zhingchak

JIMMY ZHINGCHAK – AGENT OF D.I.S.C.O., written by Saurav Mohapatra and drawn by Anupam Sinha, is a spoof and a homage of ’80s bollywood disco zeitgeist, detailing the adventures of a disco dancing superspy who fights Sir John and his evil F.I.R.A.N.G. for the Dept. of Internal Security and Covert Operations (D.I.S.C.O.) [more..]

Mumbai Confidential site now has a new look

I decided to unleash my nerd-ery to try and code a new wordpress template for Mumbai Confidential website. So read up a few resources on the web and one night’s coding binge got the new theme (aptly called “Mumbai Confidential Custom 1“) up and running.

Details are here.

About Mumbai Confidential

Mumbai Confidential is a crime noir comic book series created by writer Saurav Mohapatra (DEVI, SADHU, MUMBAI MACGUFFIN, INDIA AUTHENTIC, JIMMY ZHINGCHAK) and artist Vivek Shinde (PROJECT: KALKI, SNAKEWOMAN) set in (of course!) the Indian city of Mumbai.

comic books I read – a (non-comprehensive) list

I usually read comics spanning quite an eclectic range and one rule that I have is picking each book based on what I feel about that particular story. Though that being said, I’m much more likely to pick up a issue #1 by Ed Brubaker, Warren Ellis or Greg Rucka blindly :).

So when someone asks me what books you like to read, it’s pretty tough to just say one or even five/six names. Currently my pull/read list consists of THE BOYS by Garth Ennis, AIR by G. Willow Wilson and UNWRITTEN by Mike Carey. Some of the other comics that I’ve read and really enjoyed (listed in no particular order) :

  • LAZARUS CHURCHYARD, TRANSMETROPOLITAN, PLANETARY, AUTHORITY and FELL by Warren Ellis and his run on Ultimate FF and IRON MAN : Extremis
  • PLANET HULK by Greg Pak
  • WOLVERINE LEGENDS v2: MELTDOWN by Walter Simonson
  • SWAMP THING, TOM STRONG. SUPREME and TOP TEN by Alan Moore
  • WOLVERINE: SNIKT! by Tsutomo Nihei
  • WALKING DEAD by Robert Kirkman
  • HITMAN, PREACHER by Garth Ennis and his PUNISHER run (especially WELCOME BACK FRANK)
  • THE PATH by Ron Marz
  • WAY OF THE RAT by Chuck Dixon
  • LUCIFER by Mike Carey
  • Frank Miller’s run on DAREDEVIL and DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN
  • Ed Brubaker’s run on DAREDEVIL and his work in CRIMINAL
  • Grant Morrison’s run on ANIMAL MAN
  • WHITEOUT and QUEEN & COUNTRY by Greg Rucka
  • MARVELS, SECRET IDENTITY and ASTRO CITY by Kurt Busiek
  • EMPIRE and KINGDOM COME by Mark Waid
  • POWERS by Brian M. Bendis
  • MIDNIGHT NATION by J. Michael Straczinsky
  • MARKED by Steve Ross

More Toughguys with guns

I just can’t stop drawing these

Lascivious Intentions

(A repost from my old sulekha.com blog. This was written on the back of a napkin at Amsterdam airport while waiting for a connecting flight. contains strong language and graphic sexuality, might not be suitable for minors)

LASCIVIOUS INTENTIONS
by Saurav Mohapatra

They were having sex in a public place and no one looked.

The measly looking old man was banging the naked busty blonde right there on the floor of a busy airport lounge and no one even bothered to bat an eyelid.

Apathy, the greatest virtue of modern man! We seem to be born with it. We would revel in it if we could trigger the faintest bit of emotion.

Being apathetic is not a zero sum game. There is plenty to go around for everybody.

#

The old man was now lying flat on his back and the blonde was riding him hard.

Still no one cared.

Oh! My Lord! What the f#$% has happened to your world?

I sipped my coffee trying to drown out their moans and groans. It was getting on my nerves.

I still had five hours to go before my connecting flight left and I had to put up with this.

#

They seemed to have insatiable appetites. Now the blonde was kneeling over and the old man was pumping away furiously shouting in broken English, “Who Yore daddy!”. She was shouting indecipherable obscenities in a language that sounded German. Having watched umpteen pornographic movies, I could fill in the dialogues in English.

The racket was unbearable.

“Stop it.” I wanted to shout.

“Stop it now! I cannot take this anymore.”

I wanted to go over and kick them hard. They were behaving like mongrels in heat and deserved to be treated as such.

I finally got the nerve and stood up.

#

The old man was sitting there on the bench right across me, fully clothed of course and so was the blonde.

Did I imagine it?

Damn! This waiting is playing havoc with my mind.

I pretended to stretch my legs and sat down.

The old man was reading a newspaper. He gave me a courtesy smile as our eyes met and I realized I had been staring.

I smiled guiltily and looked over at the blonde.

#

Ahhh! There she was! Butt naked on the floor, pleasuring herself and of course no one looked.

I got in touch with my inner apathetic modern man. I turned my attention to my coffee and looked at my watch.

Four more hours plus change!

#

Still no one looked.

THE END

Artdump

Lately I have been experimenting with a minimal black and white style for hardboiled crime novels. As befits my limited artistic talent, I have been working off of photo references. Here are some of the pieces I have done in recent times.