You are on page 1of 1


Sin city
Mumbais crime scene gets a graphic makeover by writer Saurav Mohapatra and artist Vivek Shinde
PANEL EXPERTS Saurav Mohapatra and Vivek Shinde capture the gritty, merciless world of police encounters

For Bollywood in the Seventies and Eighties, Mumbai was the go-to crimecapital. Lately, lms likeGangs Of WasseypurandKahaanihave shifted the focus to badlands elsewhere. In the world of graphic novels, however, the nancialcapitals gutter-riddled gangland and the cinema it spawned continuesto be a source of inspiration. Take, for example, writer Saurav Mohapatra and artist Vivek Shindes graphic seriesMumbai Con dentialfromearly last year,which drawson stories from the citys seamy underbelly andisinspired by action sequences from John Woo movies. While the story ofMCisnt new encounter specialist Arjun Kadam is caught in a corrupt system that challenges his sense of justice this return to Mumbais underworld is compellingfor its vivid artwork. Over email from San Francisco, Mohapatra gave us his take on crime ction in India, and what to expect fromMCin the future.
How did Vivek and you meet? Vivek and I both worked for the short-lived Virgin Comics. We never got to work on a title together, but the world of comics is small, so we knew of each other and frequently chatted over IM. When Virgin shut shop, I was
58 MARCH 2013

weeknights. Jokes apart, Im quite comfortable working remotely. I cofounded a startup called, which made web-based collaboration software. In a way, I almost think that Vivek continues to work with me only because he has never met me in person! Is the next instalment of Mumbai Con dential on its way, or does this hardbound edition mean this is it? Its de nitely on the way! Weve always viewed MC as a universe, la Sin City. Were currently choosing the plot and setting for the next instalment. Weve got some great responses to the short stories the Interludes, which are interspersed with the main narrative in Vol 1. We might do an interim project with more in-universe shorts before Vol 2. So, as St Arnold of Schwarzenegger once said: Well be back! Whats your take on the new crime movies coming out of Bollywood the Wasseypur lms, for instance? Will we see

your spin on smaller Indian cities, too? Theyre refreshing. GoW is an awesomely executed piece of storytelling, a triumph of characters and milieu. You know whats going to happen. Youve seen it in newspaper headlines, in umpteen movies. Yet, it holds your attention. The characters are larger than life and realistic at the same time. The same is true of the way its been directed. I once read a piece of advice on building a scene: The gunshot is inevitable, so dont waste time describing it. Youre better off nding a new way to build up to the gunshot. As for the small-town setting, Im currently working with an Indiabased publisher on my rst longform novel called The Night Train Chronicles its a magic realism/horror story set in the Indian hinterland and its one-horse towns. Has the iPad or comic book technology for tablets in general in uenced your work? Madere, for instance, has embedded soundclips and makes use of the iPad's motion sensors. The iPad, or for that matter, any seven- or 11-inch tablet, takes care of an important detail in the transition from print to digital comics: You get more real estate, so you feel less constrained to produce something grid-like. Made re is certainly a technology to watch out for, not least because the extremely talented Ben Abernathy, previously of DC/WildStorm, is now involved with it. The problem that all next-gen technologies must surmount is how much of the old and new to blend together. Humans, statistically, like the 90 per cent old/ 10 per cent new combination. We tend not to accept something thats too radical.
The hardbound edition of Mumbai Condential is out this month.

already in the process of eshing out Mumbai Con dential as a concept. Viveks painted, hyper-real style seemed like a great t, and he was itching to use it in a project. Things sort of happened from there. Viveks in Mumbai, youre in San Francisco. How did you reconcile time zones? I slept three to four hours on


Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples space-age fantasy

Manhattan Projects


A new history of the end of WWII

Supernatural noir by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips


An early series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

A Reason For Dragons


By Chris Northrop and Jeff Stokely

English edition by Italian artist Sergio Toppi