Sunday, April 1, 2012

Interview with Kshitish Padhy (Author)

Interview with writer, poet, translator & a friend Kshitish Padhy. Once upon a time he was active on RC forums, username - enigmatic9 / jamming. Pesh hai interview k mukhya ansh. Unki upcoming Novel "Law of Averages - A Love Story with Twists" k liye unhe Good Luck! :)


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Kshitish Padhy @ Comic Con, India 2011


Ques. Firstly, congratulations on the completion of your Novel “Law of Averages”. Tell us more about LOA?
Answer: Thank you! Mohit. Law of Averages is my debut novel. It is a light comedy story following the exploits of a struggling scriptwriter Rithwik. Rithwik did not have luck on his side and all his lucky breaks proved to be false hopes. Things take an exciting turn when he meets an attractive woman while travelling in a crowded bus from Meerut. The initial part of the story is set against the backdrop of Raj Comics and working of comics industry in general showing the struggle of Rithwik while the later half focuses more on Rithwik’s love story and the exciting misadventures that follow.

P.S. The protagonists are comic fans who work as a scriptwriter and an illustrator who work at Raj Comics. The backdrop has a lot of incidents related to comics industry.

Ques. Born and bought up?
Answer: I was born in Aska, a small town in Orissa in 1980. My parents were natives of Orissa but my father worked in a company in Ranchi so I spent my entire childhood in Ranchi with sporadic visits to Orissa.

Ques. Childhood memories?
I was a pampered kid and I had an active life beyond academics. I used to play cricket, football and badminton matches a lot but the summer vacations were reserved for storybooks and comics. We used to share comics since pocket money was scarce. I was a voracious reader and I would hide comic books and novels in my textbooks like most fans. I was good at creating stories but was too lazy to write them. Now that I am a writer, let’s say that there is some poetic justice in nature.

Ques. How many publications have you worked for?
RC, Campfire, Vimanika, Arkin.

Ques. All comic publications?
Haan.

Ques. Kitna time ho gaya aapko industry mey?
7 Years

Ques. Difference between a comic and a Novel from a writer’s perspective?
While writing a novel you need to describe the location, setting and emotions better since you don’t have the benefit of visuals as compared to writing comics. While writing novels, you have to be more careful with your punctuation and grammar. On the brighter side you get more leverage in narration and there is no restriction of page count while writing novels.

Ques. You worked with few active comic and graphic novel publications. Your experience… especially in Raj Comics, Campfire and Vimanika Comics?
Raj Comics – Raj Comics was my training ground where I learnt my first lessons of my craft. I began as a translator and graduated into writing scripts. The two people who were instrumental in making me a better writer were Sanjay Sir and Lalit Sharma. Sanjay Sir taught me a lot about connecting with the audience and writing scripts for different genres. Lalit was the first critic of my work and he literally ripped apart my first script. He asked me to understand the science of scriptwriting and provided me with lot of learning material. At Raj Comics everyone is like a large extended family. My coworkers were fun to work with and the fan following is mind blowing. The single most impressionable memory of Raj Comics is when a fan touched my feet out respect. It is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Campfire: Campfire is a very professional organization, which is trying to cater to an international audience. The editor in Chief Andy Dodd was very supportive and I got an excellent mentor in Divya the editor for my first project. She helped me to overcome my flaws in writing especially grammar and sentence construction. Though I learnt to work on titles other than superheroes and comedy, my stint at campfire was a failure. The learning curve was too steep and due to their excessive focus on classic titles I found the place like a regular book-publishing house where writers have less or no creative liberty. Unlike Raj Comics there was no teamwork and collective responsibility while planning a project. Their editor hardly read comics and I was a total misfit for the organization. I would suggest fans cum writers of Super heroes to stay away from Campfire.

Vimanika: Vimanika is run by a man possessed with a vision. Karan is passionate about comics and that was the one reason that I chose to work with him. I researched a lot on Indian mythology for more than six months before I could get a break at Vimanika. All the titles are immaculately researched and there is an additional cushion of a researcher helping with the script. Shail Gulati ji has been a good mentor while writing scripts for my first graphic novel on Shiva. Karan is involved in all processes of making of every title and is juggling several hats and running the show superbly. He has been very supportive and gives me lot of creative liberty in presenting the script.

Ques. You chose a writing career over your academic degrees? Please share some interesting incidences, your struggle story?
Being a pure scriptwriter for comics and graphic novels is tough and we are almost an extinct breed. Since the sales of comics and graphic novels have gone down the payout is not the real reason you would like to be in this industry. So I had my own share of struggles.

Most of my dates with my wife were restricted to one cup of shared coffee at CP near palika bazar. She always got her birthday and valentine gifts belatedly. My in laws were not sure about my career and I was under severe pressure to prove myself to win their approval. My wife slogged for 14 hours a day at National School of Drama to support the family while I was writing Law of Averages and I hope I do justice to her sacrifice. My parents did not approve of my vocation as they wanted me to have a secure career but they did not stop me. They have been patient and are still waiting for their son to prove his mettle.

Despite the struggle I will not swap it for a swanky job at an MNC office. I have met some wonderful people who have helped me all along. I made some friends and I am trying to mentor as many young talents as I can. I will leave a legacy behind for the future generations with the books I write.

Ques. Your hobbies?
Reading Comics and Novels, Watching movies and sitcoms.

Ques. Future plans and projects?
For Vimanika comics I am working on two Graphic Novels – Shiva volume 2 and Dashavtaar volume 2. I am also working on a graphic novel on Hound of Baskerville (Sherlock Holmes), which is an independent project. I plan to write at least three more young adult fiction this year. All of them will have soft romantic stories.

Down the line I will like to write a fantasy series and young detective stories.

Ques. How you conceived the idea of LOA?
 In those days (2008) we used to work hard and late and then crash at RC. Our gang consisted of Sushant (artist), Wishumady (RC Guest Editor-Writer), Anurag (writer) and Shadab (artist & colorist). Everybody knew that I was contemplating to write an English novel. We were crashing in the room where Anupam ji churned his tales for decades when Sushant suggested that I should give him a prominent role in the story. Anurag said he also wanted to be in the story. Their comments triggered the formation of a story. When i narrated few incidents of misadventure Anurag backed out saying that "आपके नोवेल में हीरो की बहुत दुर्गति होगी." I then chose a scriptwriter and an illustrator as my protagonists working at RC. I developed the story in such a fashion that it gave glimpses of facets of people synonymous with Comic Industry. This book went through at-least six drafts before it was ready for print.

 Ques. Favorite Comic Characters, Comics?
Hindi – Super Commando Dhruva, Nagraj, Bhokal, Bankelal, Ram Rahim and Krookbond.
English – Batman, Daredevil, Tintin, Modesty Blaise and Amar chitra katha
My most favourite comics/graphic novels are Shiva, Grandmaster Robo and Hush.

Ques. Delhi vs. Orissa (Odisha..he he)/Jharkhand?
Delhi. I have adjusted to the life here. I have not forgotten my roots but still I cant imagine going back.

Ques. Favorite writers, Novels? Any influence of them on your writing style?
J.K Rowling (I share my birthday with her), Arthur Conan Doyle and Enid Blyton.

Favourite novels – Harry Potter Series, Hound of Baskerville and Famous Five series.

Ques. People who inspire you?
My Father, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling.

Ques. Which genre(s) suits you the most?
I have worked on various genres and have read extensively on various genres. I am equally comfortable in all of them. However I am not comfortable with Horror genre. But if I have to choose then I am most suited to young adult and children fiction along with mythology and fantasy genre.

Ques. Active on any comic community, group?
I am quite busy, but I am subscribed to and enjoy the interesting updates from pages, groups, communities full of die hard comic fans. Apart from working for RC I was also one of the Moderators on RC Forums (2006-2007). I miss those days and wonderful people like Arun ji, Trendster (Mohit), Wishumady (Mandaar), Vivek, Pradeep, Soumya, Sagar.....

Ques. Tips to aspiring writers?
For me there are two sets of writers. The first set writes about their perspectives and their ideals and the themes, which are excessively close to the heart. The second set writes to attain their audience. Since I belong to the later class I have tips only for the aspiring writers who want to be in the second set.

1. Do a SWOT analysis of your writing
2. Research the market well before you start on a project
3. Study your publisher and the books they publish before you pitch your work
4. Proof read your work and minimize errors in the script
5. Be prepared for a lot of rewrites and lot of rejection mails
6. Don’t get carried away by initial success. Stay grounded and work hard.

Ques. Flaws in Indian publishing and media? Your suggestions?
India is a tough market to crack. The market is severely divided into Hindi belt, English belt and regional languages belt. The distribution gets challenging and can be the bottleneck as it is almost an unorganized segment. Most of the lead distributors have a monopoly and they are notorious for delayed payment.

Alternative platforms like Flipkart, etc and other online portals can be game changers in days to come.
The Indian comics industry suffered for a long time due to the apathy of Indian media. The media still goes gaga over a graphic novel, which is a mere subset of Comics while it dismisses comics as pictures for kids. More awareness and Comic conventions can entice the media to support this industry.

Ques. Why should we buy Law of Averages?
It is a good and entertaining read. It is a simple sweet love story with some unconventional twists and a refreshing approach. The narration is witty and has some catchy one-liners. From the perspective of Comic fans, the story is set against the backdrop of Raj Comics so you do get to know bits and pieces of the working style at Raj Comics. It also has Mr. Anupam Sinha and Lalit Sharma in cameo roles while Mr. Sanjay Gupta is playing a pivotal role in the novel.

Rest the audience is the king. If they like the book, then there is no need to hard sell the book. A good story with surprises and a happy ending can be the ideal way to spend a lazy afternoon.

Ques. Spoiler..LOA ki "happy ending" hai..Bhai! he he...So, Is translation a boring job? Tell us more about your ‘translation’ days.
Nope, fun and challenging. You have to adapt to writer's style and approach in that work? dhruva and doga have contrasting styles, unke styles ke hisab se hi likhna padta hai. dialogue length ka bhi khas khayal rakhna padta hai.

Ques. Your comment on Indian Movies, TV Industry? Any plans of joining projects related to other mediums of Indian Entertainment Industry?
It is too star driven. That doesn't leave scopes for developing projects like Dhruva and Nagraj for theatrical release. TV industry is full of soaps and reality television. Neat and clean entertainment is disappearing slowly and there are hardly programs channeled for teens. Not channeled – Targeted, Why not, If it is a good project, i would like to work in other mediums. A movie on my story..... :))

Ques. What about offbeat and more flexible modes like documentaries, parallel cinema?
No! i am not looking forward to documentaries and offbeat cinema.

Ques. What's the difference in a 'single' creative and a 'married' one?
As a single creative i had more time at my hand and i could hang out with other creatives at odd hours. Plus we could keep discussing and working on projects without bothering about commercial viability. As a married creative, I have to be selective of my projects and ensure that i meet my deadlines. Plus juggling household chores and spending time with your partner when they demand your time becomes a priority. basically you are answerable to someone you consider special.

- Mohit Sharma (Trendy Baba)

Also Posted -

i) Raj Comics Website Homepage

ii) RC Forums 

4 comments:

  1. wow!!
    i m definitly goinna hc LOA d day it is published!!!
    eagerly waitin fr it :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great job Mohit. It will inspire many talents. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good job. Definitely looking forward to LOA

    ReplyDelete