Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Chunnu Padhta Diamond Comics

Like most kids, I too was a big fan of comics. In my childhood, good foreign comics were hard to come by. Our exposure to Superman, Spiderman and He-man was limited to evening cartoons on DD. Most of the comic book diet was made up of Indian fare with the occasional Archie or DC/Marvel comic procured from the flea market. Back in our days there were quite a few publishing houses of which the prominent ones were Diamond, Raj, Manoj & Tulsi. Diamond and Raj survive to this day, while I do not know much about the fate of Tulsi & Manoj.

Diamond was ofcourse the most popular with its chief characters like Chacha Choudhary, Saboo, Raman, Billoo, Pinky etc. These I used to like only when I was very young as the humor was very simple and as I grew it became childish. Diamond however, also published more 'serious' comics like Fauladi Singh (a masked superhero who fights space invaders) and his pocket sized sidekick Lambu Singh. I used to be a big fan of this character specially because of his laser guns and rocket ships. Another Diamond plus was its Sunday afternoon radio show on AIR Vividh Bharti which I think continues to this day. The program used to be based on forthcoming Diamond comics and the voices often presented very dramatic and exciting (for a child of my age) previews of the next week's issues. . And who can forget the famous jingle, "Chunnu Padtha Diamond Comics, Munni Padhti Diamond Comics, Mazedaar Hai Diamond Comics".


This used to be followed by a trip to Vinod's or Dholki's (our neighbourhood comic stores) from where we used to rent the latest comics for Re. 1 per comic per day. Since it was a big dent on our weekly allowance (5 rupees a week back then) the money used to be split between cousins and friends.

Manoj comics was the other big publisher with characters like Inspector Manoj, Ram - Rahim etc. Its characters were inspired by Amar Chitra Katha / Tinkle & Diamond Characters (Ram - Rahim were their answer to Diamond's Rajan - Iqbal). But my all time favorite Manoj Character was 'Crook Bond' a bumbling detective with a robotic car (much like Q's) piloted by 'Mr. Hol-dol' a robot who sat on the bonnet much like the Rolls-Royce marquee.

Some years later Raj Comics hit the market and became instantly popular. Its artwork and story lines were clearly inspired by Western DC / Marvel comics. Its first two superheros Nagraj and Super Commando Dhruv became overnight stars and for that day and age the quality of artwork and stories were incredibly good. Then came a slew of new heroes and sub-heros like Doga, Bhokal, Inspector Steel, Fighter Toads etc. which were to a large extent inspired by western characters. While Steel was clearly lifted from Robocop, Bhokal was He-manesuqe in origin while the Fighter Toads were clearly the Ninja Turtles right down to their sewer home.

Tulsi had very much a B-grade lineup with mediocre stories and characters, the most prominent was Tausi, a sort of rip-off on Raj Comic's Nagraj. But the titles for which I used to lust the most was Indrajaal - published by the Times of India Group which were mainly Hindi translations of International comics like Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon, Garth etc. and ofcourse Phantom (or Vetaal) in Hindi was my hot favourite.

Amar Chitra Katha has remained an eternal favourite as well, and even today I can't resist digging into the adventures of Shikari Shambhu (so much so that I have named Bangalore Traffic Cops after him) and Suppandi. Kaaliya the crow - Chamataka the Jackal, Doob Doob the croc... the names just keep rolling.

But I don't know if any of you remember Daku Pan Singh, a Robin Hood type bandit who gained mighty powers after eating a made by who else but a trusted sidekick. Then there was Lot-comics, low on paper quality but high on laughter content. The characters had names like Motu-Patlu, Ghasita Ram. Madhu Muskan magazine had Uncle Ji and an US return accented nephew who used to take his happiness, while now defunct Target magazine had Gardhab Daas.

Most of these names have vanished now, and the Indian comic industry is stuck in a time warp. Of the surviving ones Chacha Choudhary comics are stale and hardly evince any laughter, while Raj Comic characters have either become cheap or the story lines have become downright ridiculous. For serious comic book buffs, there is nothing left and the children of today either read sex or violence packed American ones or Japanese manga easily available in supermarkets now.

Wish I could go back to those days, wish I could lay my hands on some Indrajaal comics and what would I not do to read Daku Pan Singh all over again. Sometimes I wish the kids of today had much more to do than Internet, Pokemon & WWE !!

15 comments:

Sidhusaaheb said...

Detective Moochhwala and his dog Poochh, who appeared in the 'Target' magazine, are also not to be forgotten, what with the wonderful accessories like the good detective's motor-bike and even a custom-built helmet for the doggie!

Like you, I've been a fan of Indrajal, Amar Chitra Katha and diamond comics, besides 'Lotpot' and 'Madhu Mustkan' magazines, though I haven't read many titles of Manoj or Tulsi comics.

Used to read titles of Archie, Superman, Spiderman, etc., as well.

chandni said...

That's a nice reminder of things long forgotten..its a pity the newer generation might not experience the same stuff...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

:)

priyank said...

i've just taken out a printout of this .... paaji emotional karke rulaooge kya ??? yaad aa gayi ...emotional ho gaya mein .:o)
fantasic , those were the days . i used to buy "motu-patlu" coz it only used to cost Rs.2 ;-)

indscribe said...

Ya, Fauladi Singh was too ahead for its times.
Apart from this Lambu-Motu, Mama Bhanja, Tauji, Chacha Bhatija, Rajan Iqbal were the the other original titles though they later published many others like Mahabali Shaka.

chatur pandit said...

And i was obcessed to Indrajal comics
Phantom and her beautiful wife Diana Pamer. And can't forget Mandrek and Lothar.
Aur haan , hamara desi bahadur, inspector bahadur singh.

Sach hai, aajkal ke comics main wo baat nahin jo hamarey jamaney main hoti thee.
But the world is changing and so are the comics.
I don't remember when phantom actually killed any bad guy, he always left a mark to get those people arrested by police but now a days, you can see blood and death in comics too.

Rohit said...

hey

do you remmeber detective kapil

asli goli : nakli maut

they were the stuff comics were made of

crookbond , popat chaupat , daadiji and the bhoot "bhootnath aur jadoi tulika "

fazal said...

can any one please tell what was the name of that comic strip which used to come in Madhu Muskan? i request specially to those who still hold Madhu Muskan magazine. please mail me if you have any comics in jpg or pdf format. my email id is mfrahman1975@gmail.com.
thanks
fazal

aditisen said...

Nice article, reminds me so much of good old doordarshan days when entertainment was so easy and simple. Good job.

Anand said...

BhootNath!!!!!!

I haven't heard that name in years!!!

Cheap Batman ripoff - but great nostalgia.

Rohit said...

Hi anand
bhootnath was a rip off on casper , and the batman rip off was" kala pret" in manoj comics .
I hremeber a comic where the villan lives in gutter and uses a blow pipe to kill his enemies with a poison dart

Selfish Gaurav said...

I came across some old copies of "Madhu Muskaan" in a pile of old magazines being sold roadside-sometime last year.

I almost wept with nostalgia while reading them. DaddyJi was right there with his Jojo 'Puttar' and so were Sustram-Chustram, Daku Pan Singh (A dig on one time famous bandit Maan Singh)with his sidekick supari and ,the one I liked most,- 'Reporter Kalamdas'-who used to interview film stars. what I liked most in all of them was the amusing sounds that they expressed in words, like "Dhishoom", "Fachaak", "Thaain".... lol can't even write them in english.

I believe I still have them somewhere in my book basket-though they might be only one or two in number. Hope I get the right resources to scan and convert them to pdf real soon.

Thanks for keeping the memories alive.

Gaurav said...

And I, hereby, fulfil the promise of uploading a 'मधु मुस्कान'. I have uploaded it at:

http://www.esnips.com/web/MadhuMuskan/

I have a few more of them and shall be glad to upload them if I see sufficient enthusiasm. Further uploads shall be intimated at:

http://selfishgaurav.blogspot.com/

Regards
Gaurav

Anonymous said...

bro gaurav
maine aapki post dekhi
bhai aapko badhayi dher sari per 1 comic se kya hoga humara
u may shud post all madhu muskaan
coz we serchd lot all r waitng and all r exited 2 see our bachpan in this book am crazy about madhu muskaan daddy ji
popat choupat chacha chirkut ...and specialy ander me jo story hoti thi na wo
thnks i waintg and all r waitng do post more more more

priya ranjan pandey said...

hey bro! nice reminder of my old days. but have you forgotten the super hillarious HAWALDAR BAHADUR of manoj comics. i loved that comic charecter. specially his wife and the nephew. he he he.

sac said...

dear respected friends ....i am serching that audio chunnu padata diamond comics munni padati diamond comics ......wali radio ki add .. is there any chance you can help me out to find that ....if yes then kindly mail it to me add my e mail which is saachin.khurana@gmail.com

i will be greatfull to you

thanks and regards
........i wtill live in those memories