By Ayushi Chaurasia
Little did I know that an artist somewhere in France was revving up her illustrations and penning down her version of Mahabharata; it took seven whooping years for Amruta Patil to complete the dream she had woven in the form of her graphic Novel, Adi Parva Churning of the ocean. It was a pleasure to meet the artist at the launch of her book Adi Parva, organized by The Write Circle, at ITC Rajputana on 14th December in Jaipur. Amruta Patil proved a sheer treat to the mind.
She was an experienced advertising professional when she decided to write or should I say draw her first graphic novel, Kari. Where Kari was the queer protagonist trying to find her true identity in a monochromatic magic realism version of Mumbai, Patil’s latest novel Adi Parva draws the reader somewhere between the colourful realms and excerpts from Mahabharata. Amruta’s fear of a blank white page has turned out to be a very fruitful for readers as the book is full of beautifully hand drawn paintings. Inspirations drawn from various cultures and countries will leave you smitten with her work. She has managed to photomontage various paintings and tid-bits of magazine cuttings. By the way of softening of gaze she has pulled out fragments from Indian mythology. A glittery trail here and a splash of colors there, with the characters coming to life while the Mansarovar gets churned in the pages of the book.
Yes, the paintings are the centre attraction of the book but the dialogues and narration complete the circle. Amruta has put in a lot of thought with an ample splash of abstract into her writing. The novel will challenge you into thinking and reflecting on the words and graphics. She says that over time, eras change where retelling of mythological tales is much important and necessary. With the passage of time new phenomena take form conspiring the stark existence of old ones; including the very ideology of people and the way they perceive art and literature. These tales will always be relevant if they are told with metaphors drawn from the current scenarios by the way for people to connect with them.
The book was written in France which now is the humble abode of the graphic novelist. She says that she found herself grounded to her Indian roots more while she was away in the foreign land. Just like her book Adi Parva, the conversations that took form at the book launch were as abstract and thought provoking. Among the many worlds a writer can curate, Adi Parva is sort of the world that will humbly provoke the reader to smile.